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Scientific evidence should be central in debates about science, medicine and technology. It is vital for clear public deliberation, scientific development and good policy. Often, though, evidence is ignored or even misrepresented. From scares about the contraceptive pill, fluoride and the MMR vaccine to controversies about genetic...
Scientific evidence should be central in debates about science, medicine and technology. It is vital for clear public deliberation, scientific development and good policy. Often, though, evidence is ignored or even misrepresented. From scares about the contraceptive pill, fluoride and the MMR vaccine to controversies about genetic modification, stem cell research and radiation, society has paid with unfounded anxiety, delayed action, poor decisions, and lost opportunities for research and development. Sense About Science is an independent charitable trust responding to the misrepresentation of science and scientific evidence on issues that matter to society. A pamphlet linked from this site, provides a short public guide to peer review. Written with input from patients, pharmacists and medical practitioners, among others, the aim of the guide is to popularize the quality checking and rigor that begins to separate scientific work first from conjecture and then from flawed work. It suggests that the first question to be asked is, Is it published? The guide covers the kinds of things that scientific reviewers look for - validity, significance and originality - and describes the process of scientific publishing. It also tells people how to dig a little deeper for evidence that scientific findings are published in a peer-reviewed journal. You can request copies using a web form or download the pamphlet, I don't know what to believe... (pdf file 184kb).