Some of our discussions on this forum have dealt with the issue of scientific integrity and the validity of scoliosis research. Sharon has often (<cough> perhaps some would say too often) noted the Greek paper where the author made a compelling case that Most Published Research is False.

Last week, someone released a large amount of internal emails, fortran code, and data from one of the top research institutions involved with climate science. Some have characterized this as “hacked” or “stolen” files. Others (myself included) would characterize the documents as “leaked” from a “whistleblower”. Time may clarify the issue of the source/provenance of the data but the institution involved admits that they appear to be authentic.

This is a topic I’ve been interested in for some time and I recognize that the people involved (correspondence in the emails) are at the forefront of the research. They are not a small group on the periphery; they are the MOST cited individuals and the MOST influential in the field.

Perhaps a lesson related to scoliosis research that we can take from this is to be constantly questioning (<cough> perhaps more so in our minds than on the forum) the validity of all research. The paper Sharon cites about most research being false (maybe someone can link to it) is well worth reading. (Although I should note that the paper doesn’t list malfeasance (as we may be seeing here) as one of the reasons research is often false)

Now, regarding the “leaked” information, there are over 60 MB of information and folks are pouring over the information now. Some of the revelations may be misinterpreted or taken out of context (such as the “Trick” issue) but others seem a quite a bit more damning.

Here is a link discussing/summarizing some of the initial revelations uncovered. The data and fortran code has been often requested by scientists wishing to investigate the claims arising from the research. They have been the subject of multiple Freedom of Information (FOI) requests. Indeed, the name of the zipped file containing the data is called FOI2009.zip. In any event, the topic makes for interesting reading and it will be interesting to see how the scientific community (and media) deal with it.

Another way in which this topic may tie in with scoliosis is the potential mixing of policy and science. I know some have suggested that the BrAIST trial may be a ploy to come up with data eliminating bracing as an (insurance covered) option or eliminate school screening as a mandated thing. (A “conspiracy” theory I don’t subscribe to but in light of what is going on with Climate Science, well, you never know).

Anyway, I thought it better to discuss it here than on Dingo’s genetic thread. It gets so hard to follow stuff here sometimes.