Friday, October 6, 2017

"Hyperbole in research" by Dr. Shailesh Kumar

A great piece of write-up by dear friend of mine Dr. Shailesh Kumar, an accomplished cell biologist with long experience of working in the area of circadian rhythm:

"Hyperbole is the new phenomenon nowadays in public discourse and scientists too are not untouched. Recently John Oliver covered it very well on his TV show on how “promising” scientific results are being peddled as “conclusive” in visual and less so in print media. Path to future is treacherous one in science, yet we are tempted to extrapolate research findings as final panacea leading to false hope and ultimately disappointment. With advent of technological revolutions ranging from omics to microbiome, nanotech to personalized medicine, drug repurposing, most of the results from labs are being presented by researchers, universities and media as breakthroughs and paradigm shifters. Nonetheless these rhetorics are omnipresent, gone are those days where scientists used to work away from public glare driven by passion and curiosity. Sadly scientific communications are becoming more of Hollywoodish sci-fi trailers, which have led to immense attention from external media, funding bodies and policymakers. Given the sensibilities of media, I do not have much hopes of doing the due diligence while reporting scientific facts. It’s about time scientists, researchers stick together to correct misrepresentation of facts put out in the public domain through social media, blogs or televised media. Irony is, enthusiastic exaggeration of facts are so much in demand in external world that we are undermining policy debates and impacting clinical decisions and unverified therapies. Therefore scientific community should come together to fight this hype- n-hoopla sooner the better."

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