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The Systemic Practice of Misinterpretation of Scientific Data

The Case of Persisters, Small Colony Variants, Viable but Non-Culturable Bacteria, and Senescent Bacteria in Microbiology

by Jaison Jacob

Paperback eBook PDF

Publisher: Universal-Publishers
Pub date: 2010
Pages: 240
ISBN-10: 1599428202
ISBN-13: 9781599428208
Categories: Biology & Animal SciencesPhysics & ChemistryBiology & Natural Sciences


In this book, the author unfolds the ways in which researchers misinterpret their data to promote a hypothesis with the aim of attracting the attention of the scientific community. By providing examples, the author explains how flawed research findings enter and remain in scientific literature for a long time. This book gives insights not only to researchers in the sciences, but also to journal reviewers and to various governmental and private agencies that work to promote science. The message of the book is positive and clear: it is possible to identify the flaws in scientific research by scrutinizing the subject matter thoroughly, thus saving researchers around the globe time and money.

It is generally believed that the scientific community is relatively free of corruption and that it adopts good scientific practices. However, flawed research findings may occur not only from human error, but also from the intentional attempts of some researchers to promote their preconceived hypotheses. The author warns that unless certain practices in research are checked, a point will soon be reached when scientific research will not be worth the money invested in it.

The book starts with some of the fundamental concepts in pharmacokinetics and the pharmacodynamics of antibiotics. Then, four related but independent topics are discussed: persisters, small colony variants, viable but non-culturable bacteria, and senescent bacteria. Each topic is divided into two sections: the first is a review of the literature; the second questions the validity of the current hypotheses and findings. In the subsequent chapters, a simpler hypothesis is offered after integration of the four topics. Finally, the impact of creating illusions in research is discussed.

About the Author

Jaison Jacob is a veterinarian from India. He received his bachelor's degree in Veterinary and Animal Sciences from Kerala Agricultural University, Kerala, India, and his master's degree in Veterinary Pharmacology from the Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Uttar Pradesh, India. Later, he joined the Animal Husbandry Department of the Government of Kerala and worked as a veterinary surgeon for a few years before joining the University of Maryland, College Park. He completed his second master's degree in Animal Sciences in the department of Animal and Avian Sciences. He is interested in the research of bacterial killing kinetics and looks forward to working on senescent bacteria in future projects.