Reporters say science journals problematic

A recent scandal involving a South Korean scientist who fabricated a published study now has reporters viewing scientific journals with some skepticism.

"My antennae are definitely up since this whole thing unfolded," Rob Stein, a science reporter for The Washington Post, told The New York Times. "I'm reading papers a lot more closely than I had in the past ... but we're still in sort of the same situation that the journal editors are, which is that if someone wants to completely fabricate data, it's hard to figure that out."

Beyond newspapers, papers from journals are routinely picked up by newsweeklies, network news, talk radio and Web sites.

"They are the way science is conducted, they're the way people share information, they're the best approximation of acceptance by knowledgeable people," said Laura Chang, science editor for The New York Times.

Among the most prestigious science and medical journals reporters consult regularly are Nature, Science, The British Medical Journal, The New England Journal of Medicine and The Journal of the American Medical Association.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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