It's difficult to be well informed when the internet is full of perilous ideas.

in #covidlast month


It is ridiculously easy to mislead people by sharing flawed and/or cherry-picked studies on social media. I wish everyone understood the following:

  1. Peer review guarantees nothing in itself. It keeps many, not all, flawed studies from publication in higher-quality journals. During COVID it’s been rushed and sidestepped (see article below).

  2. There are thousands of low-quality journals, including pay-to-publish journals with peer review that is lax at best. Studies that fail peer review at one journal often end up published in another, less selective journal. Some journals require 3 peer reviews per paper, some only one.

  3. There are dishonest people in every profession, including science and medicine. In a Belgian study of 5 academic med centers, 1% of researchers “admitted to having fabricated data in the prior three years,” and 24% reported observing a colleague do so. Authors of a meta-analysis concluded that 2% of researchers “admit to having engaged in serious misconduct while 14% say they have observed it in a colleague.” This is another reason science is practiced in community and we listen to the consensus of the 99%, not to shady contrarians profiting from their rogue ideas, running for office, pushing a political narrative, etc.

  4. Simply having an advanced degree does not mean someone is an expert in a specialized area they have no training in, nor does having a clinical degree (DO, MD, RN, etc.) mean someone is a competent evaluator of scientific research. I don’t care what a rogue chiropractor, GI doc, OB, radiologist, optometrist, or orthopedic surgeon on YouTube thinks about mask efficacy, mRNA vaccine safety, epidemiology, viral mutation rates, etc. Sadly, there are many people these days whose ignorance regarding how little they know about specialized fields they have no training or expertise in is exceeded only by their arrogance in thinking they know better than those who do.