Science is a field that is highly sensitive to such concepts as credibility and reliability of the obtained results. However, in numerous cases, these notions are neglected, and the published information is inaccurate as a result of many reasons. This paper is dedicated to the research of the causes of the influence of magazines, sponsors, and researchers on the published information, and to learn the possible results of this phenomenon.
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Types of Influence
One of the main types of influence on the published materials is the editorial policy of the publishing houses, journals, magazines, and online resources. It pre-determines the kinds of materials that have to be published and causes an impact on public opinion. Scientific publications might present wrong information in several possible ways. These are publication, time-related, language, and geographical biases. The importance of further citation of the published material defines another type of influence – the citation bias. The editorial policy, which means selecting specific materials and declining others, is strongly connected with financial support. All the listed types of influence happen because of the strong motivations of researchers, editions, and investors.
The Motivations for Influence
The reason for a publication bias is a result of the fact that the release of positive research results prevails over the publication of negative or neutral information. Time-related influence happens for the reason that the positive results get issued faster than neutral or negative ones, with a motivation of getting more citations and impact for the magazine (Bergh et al. 432). The same reason pre-determines the phenomenon of appearing of many materials on the same topic in multiple sources in a short period.
The information that the editorial board considers more significant tends to be published globally and in English when numerous studies that get rejected are issued in other languages. Thus, the situation where the magazines hunt for papers that ensure a high citation rate creates a background where many articles are turned down. The policies of sponsorship create an environment where the published information has to support the needs of the sponsor. Researchers and journalists in their turn try to get into a popular research field, which receives funds from the sponsors, and the results in which are more likely to be published. Thus, a considerable amount of information remains with no attention from both researchers and publishers.
The study of the reproducibility of the data published in scientific works found that 40% to 73% of the articles do not contain sufficient information for checking the results (Bergh et al. 430). It can mean that the researchers falsify the data, making the results of research satisfactory for magazines and sponsors. Another example is an analysis, which revealed that the sugar industry has been funding medical studies proving the impact of cholesterol on coronary heart disease (Kearns et al. 1682). It was shown that not cholesterol, but sugar is the factor that promotes the development of coronary heart disease (Kearns et al. 1683). Thus, the decades that could be spent on finding appropriate treatment were lost due to the behavior of sponsors and editorial policies.
The Possible Consequences
Publication of results under the pressure of the interests of sponsors, magazines, and researchers can cause ineffective or even destructive effects. When such influence happens in the medical field, the treatments developed based on such research can be idle or dangerous. Such mistakes cost millions of human lives. Fighting this influence on obtaining and publishing the information is crucial. The published works need to be examined for reliability, credibility, and possible bias. A global approach aimed at checking the presented information can ensure that the published data are complete and representative, which is essential to keep the logical integrity of the scientific publications.
A big part of the published results of scientific research happens under pressure. This phenomenon may mislead the scientific community, resulting in the development of ineffective or dangerous techniques. Addressing the issues of credibility, reliability, and the presence of influence is crucial for maintaining the integrity of scientific literature.
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Bergh, Donald D. et al. “Is there a Credibility Crisis in Strategic Management Research? Evidence on the Reproducibility of Study Findings”. Strategic organization, vol. 15 no 3, 2017 pp. 423-436.
Kearns, Cristin E. et al. “Sugar Industry and Coronary Heart Disease Research. A Historical Analysis of Internal Industry Documents”. JAMA, vol. 176, no. 11, 2016, pp. 1680-1685.