Friday, July 25, 2014

The Perfect Project? Or Plagiarism?

"Scientists were doing plenty of tests on them, but they just always assumed they were in the ocean," Lauren, now 13, tells NPR's Kelly McEvers. "So I was like, 'Well, hey guys, what about the river?' " (NPR)

"My lionfish research is going viral ... but my name has been intentionally left out of the stories, replaced by the name of the 12-year-old daughter of my former supervisor's best friend." ...
One can only hope that in a private conversation after that NPR interview, Lauren’s father had pointed out that, actually, the original idea for her “finding” had come from another scientist, one he’d known professionally, and that maybe they should mention Jud’s work in her next interview. However, as Lauren went on to perpetuate falsehoods in subsequent interviews, the adults in Lauren’s life seem to have fallen down on their job as teachers and role models. (The Atlantic)

We acknowledge Lauren Arrington in the paper twice. (Abaco Scientist)

I am going with... almost perfect project. It beats an endless line of potato batteries and baking soda volcanoes, right? If every science fair project was a replication or a mini-experiment based on an actual science paper, kids would LEARN A TON ABOUT SCIENCE!

Almost perfect, because it would have been better if the father had come in and helped everyone do such a high quality experiment teaching about the scientific process, and the father fell down a bit on the post-project PR. Also, the organizers should not have done this: "Lauren was given a strict set of rules by the science fair organizers. The most important one: Her fish could not die." I say, kill the fish (if you can!). Haven't they heard about WHY lionfish are such an active area of ecological study? A not-so-friendly reminder: do not release your non-native pets into the wild.

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