Publishing of scientific findings is central to the scientific process, and it is traditional to consider findings “provisional” until accepted by a peer-reviewed journal. Until publication, communication of provisional findings beyond participants in the study is typically limited. This practice helps assure scientific integrity. However, a dilemma arises when a provisional finding has urgent societal consequences that may be exacerbated by delay. This dilemma may be particularly pronounced when a discovery concerns wildlife health, which could have implications for conservation, public health (i.e., zoonoses), or domestic animal health (e.g., avian influenza). A scientist may see a need for prepublication communication but consider such communication to be problematic. We suggest that common concerns about directed prepublication communication are generally misplaced. Our perspective comes from natural resources science and management, but we suspect that this situation could arise in any branch of science and that discussing these issues will help scientists who may not routinely work with public officials navigate an unfamiliar situation.
Additional publication details
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||Prepublication communication of research results|
|Contributing office(s)||Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center|