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The value of “de-discovery”

News reports about science tend to be filled with excited, exciting accounts of new discoveries. Some of them turn out, later, to be mistaken. This passage in a New York Times article by Carl Zimmer mentions a perhaps rare effort to counteract that cycle of excitation and evaporation:

Yet [virus researcher] Dr. [Ian W.] Lipkin does not think that viruses should be blamed for all our ills. In fact, he and his colleagues spend much of their time engaged in what he calls “de-discovery,” exposing false links made between viruses and diseases. “It’s important for the credibility of the field,” he said.

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