Tuesday, July 23, 2019

An ethical duty for open science?

Let's do a thought experiment. Imagine that you are the editor of a top-flight scientific journal. You are approached by a famous researcher who has developed a novel molecule that is a cure for a common disease, at least in a particular model organism. She would like to publish in your journal. Here's the catch: her proposed paper describes the molecule and asserts its curative properties. You are a specialist in this field, and she will personally show you any evidence that you need to convince you that she is correct – including allowing you to administer this molecule to an animal under your control and allowing you to verify that the molecule is indeed the one that she claims it is. But she will not put any of these details in the paper, which will contain only the factual assertion.

Here's the question: should you publish the paper?