Organization’s reputation wields hefty influence: Scientist
The reputation of an organization can convince scientists of the value of the research it produces even when there is no supporting data, says a University of Toronto geologist.
Professors Andrew Miall of U of Ts geology department and Charlene Miall of sociology at McMaster University have found that reputation alone can significantly influence the legitimacy placed on scientific results produced by an organization. The researchers have named this phenomenon the Exxon factor – in the 1970s a scientist from Exxon proposed a model for oil exploration that was accepted at face value in the scientific community without any data or critical analysis. “Everyone just assumed that, because it was Exxon, the model had to be right even though no one had seen any proof,” Andrew Miall says.
In their study, the researchers conducted interviews with company insiders and other scientists engaged in petroleum research and tracked the acceptance processes accompanying the release of the model in academic journals and petroleum research publications. Their findings showed a propensity on the part of scientists to unquestioningly accept the Exxon research on the basis of the companys reputation and large-scale research facilities without demanding supporting data. “Paradoxically,” Andrew Miall says, “the model itself was not accepted inside Exxon until it was accepted by outside academics and industry geologists.”
These findings have important implications for government policies, as agencies approving new products for public consumption may be influenced by a companys reputation and funding rather than by the validity of the research in scientific terms, say the authors. “The Exxon factor shows that reputations can carry weight over empirical data.”
CONTACT: Professor Andrew Miall, Department of Geology, 416-978-8841, firstname.lastname@example.org@quartz.geology.utoronto.ca or Lanna Crucefix, U of T public affairs, 416-978-0260, email@example.com
Alle Nachrichten aus der Kategorie: Studies and Analyses
innovations-report maintains a wealth of in-depth studies and analyses from a variety of subject areas including business and finance, medicine and pharmacology, ecology and the environment, energy, communications and media, transportation, work, family and leisure.
Smart sensors for future fast charging batteries
European project “Spartacus” launched Faster charging, longer stability of performance not only for electric vehicles but also for smartphones and other battery powered products. What still sounds like science fiction…
Small molecules control bacterial resistance to antibiotics
Antibiotics have revolutionized medicine by providing effective treatments for infectious diseases such as cholera. But the pathogens that cause disease are increasingly developing resistance to the antibiotics that are most…