Sean Morrison on science publication

"In some cases [scientists] have a get-rich-quick mentality and are more interested in publishing high-profile papers than in getting the answers right."

- Dr Sean Morrison, as quoted in Nature

Erika Check, in a recent News Feature in Nature, explores the interesting phenomenon whereby provocative, splashy research results in hot areas are sometimes not readily reproduced by others in the field. Stem cell research, she demonstrates, is a good example of an area rife with controversy. Cell biologist Sean Morrison chalks up some of this irreproducibility to sloppiness by inexperienced people attracted to the field because of its notoriety. Check also notes that scientists who do the work properly are sometimes "forced to skimp on their methods sections so they can cram as much data as possible" into high-profile journals with tight page limits, or are tempted to keep schtum by intellectual property concerns or fear of competition; meanwhile, slight variations in different peoples' experimental conditions could also add to the murkiness.

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