Scientific Hype

Regarding the article “Hyped Science: Researchers Are Hurting Their Own Cause” (The Scientist, May 15, 1989, page 11), the author [Dorothy Nelkin] has a legitimate complaint when she points out some cases where new discoveries have been abused by the media.

But there is another side to the issue: If a scientist should make a new, legitimate discovery and follow the advice of the author, he or she will encounter many difficulties. The first presentation of findings to a peer review board can be quite disheartening. The first presentation may be overlooked. The next may be ignored. And then it may be rejected. Meanwhile, if news of the discovery leaks out by any other means, the science is called “hyped,” and all hell breaks loose as the scientific community wants to pounce on the author. There will always be critics in every field of endeavor but...

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