Quantum Nanowires: A case study on reproducibility in natural sciences

February 10, 2023 -
12:00pm to 1:00pm

Sergey Frolov, PhD
Associate Professor in Physics and Astronomy
University of Pittsburgh

Abstract: Three years ago, Dr. Frolov and a friend found major problems in a paper in Nature. The paper has since been retracted, along with another Nature paper. Several more are recommended for retraction, are under expressions of concern, or pending corrections. In this talk, Dr. Frolov will describe his experience with colleagues, including close friends, university administrators, journal editors, and funding managers, as he pursued investigation of the paper’s problems. He will share the lessons he learned. These include learning how slow things proceed, discovering processes and approaches that don’t work, and recognizing the need for further reforms regarding the culture and attitudes concerning unreliable research. Dr. Frolov found that the reproducibility crisis is in full swing in the natural sciences, which traditionally consider themselves insulated due to their perceived rigor.

Dr. Frolov began formulating what changes are desirable; some are very technocratic, such as total data sharing and post-publication peer review. Some are more difficult to implement, such as changing the incentives, the business models, and the employment habits in the sciences and academic publishing. He argues that without taking care of the scientific process itself, we cannot put much value on the science it produces.

Sponsored by the Center for Philosophy of Science, Love Data Week, and the Research, Ethics and Society Initiative

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