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Just Admit It

Researchers tend to own up to their mistakes when they occur and more people need to be like that, writes Clive Thompson at Wired.

"We need moral examples of people who can admit when they're wrong," Thompson says. He adds that, currently, people appear more likely to double down and refuse to admit when they are wrong.

Instead, Thompson says he'd like to give an award to Daniel Bolnick, an evolutionary biologist, who realized that he made an error in the code he'd used in a study when others were unable to replicate his work on fish, their diets, and body types. Bolnick retracted the paper.

Thompson says researchers are more likely to admit when they've messed up — though he acknowledges that some still sweep it under the rug. But he says "the scientific lodestar still shines" and notes other instances in which researchers have pulled papers that others couldn't reproduce.

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