martes, 21 de diciembre de 2010

Response required

Blogs and online comments can provide valuable feedback on newly published research. Scientists need to adjust their mindsets to embrace and respond to these new forums for debate.

You may have seen claims that scientists at NASA have discovered a bacterium that can replace the phosphorus in its DNA with arsenic. You may have heard that this could help the hunt for aliens. You may even have heard that the 'arsenic bacterium' is itself an alien. What you will not have seen or heard is a detailed response from NASA and the scientists involved to online criticism of their work. In the face of worldwide attention on their paper (F. Wolfe-Simon et al. Science doi:10.1126/science.1197258; 2010), which NASA and the team deliberately courted, the researchers have stuck their heads in the digital sand.

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