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Effective Conservation ScienceData Not Dogma$
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Peter Kareiva, Michelle Marvier, and Brian Silliman

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198808978

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198808978.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 06 May 2021

Uncomfortable questions and inconvenient data in conservation science

Uncomfortable questions and inconvenient data in conservation science

(p.3) Chapter 1 Uncomfortable questions and inconvenient data in conservation science
Effective Conservation Science

Peter Kareiva

Michelle Marvier

Oxford University Press

This chapter outlines the problems of exaggeration, misuse of statistics, and publication bias that plague all scientific disciplines, but that may be especially acute in the mission-oriented field of conservation. Because conservation describes itself as a crisis discipline, its scientific publications tend to reinforce that view, even when the data are lacking. And when data run counter to accepted wisdom, out of fear such results might be misinterpreted or misused to counter conservation’s mission, the review process sometimes favors dogma over data. Black-box models, data gaps filled with expert opinion, and a general lack of easy access to key data make the testing of alternative hypotheses or interpretations extremely difficult. Self-correction and iteration are key to scientific progress. In conservation especially, with the fate of biodiversity in the balance, it is essential that conservationists get the science right, even if it means admitting mistakes.

Keywords:   publication bias, expert opinion, p-values, irreproducible results, evidence-based conservation, conservation science, conservation effectiveness

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