What is useful research? The good, the bad, and the stable: The good, the bad, and the stable (Editorial)

David M Ozonoff, Philippe Grandjean

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debateResearch

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Abstract

A scientific journal like Environmental Health strives to publish research that is useful within the field covered by the journal's scope, in this case, public health. Useful research is more likely to make a difference. However, in many, if not most cases, the usefulness of an article can be difficult to ascertain until after its publication. Although replication is often thought of as a requirement for research to be considered valid, this criterion is retrospective and has resulted in a tendency toward inertia in environmental health research. An alternative viewpoint is that useful work is "stable", i.e., not likely to be soon contradicted. We present this alternative view, which still relies on science being consensual, although pointing out that it is not the same as replicability, while not in contradiction. We believe that viewing potential usefulness of research reports through the lens of stability is a valuable perspective.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2
JournalEnvironmental Health: A Global Access Science Source
Volume19
Number of pages4
ISSN1476-069X
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7. Jan 2020

Keywords

  • Generalizability
  • Quality
  • Replication
  • Reproducibility
  • Scientific journals
  • Validity

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