Newsletter No 50 Item 1
Quote: References are very much a double-edged sword, or perhaps a bazooka. In the wrong hands, they can do far more harm than good. And in the, essentially, unchecked system that we now have, one careless reference can end up taking on a life of its own. It gets stuck in the medical information ‘machine’ replicating itself like some malevolent computer virus, gradually infecting all data and turning it into useless mush. End Quote
A medical doctor, Dr. Malcolm Kendrick, made this statement discussing issues as they affect our health, but the statement is true in many fields of science. Over the years, we have warned of the problems scientific referencing has created in our ostrich industry.
Research in ostrich production only started in the late 1980s. We witnessed a number of scientists entering the industry, as Ostrich appeared to offer excellent career prospects as a new industry, developing globally. During the early to mid 90s, there was a proliferation of papers published by scientists. Very few were peer-reviewed, and even if peer-reviewed, any hypothesis or experimentation had not had the test of time to prove the accuracy in practice.
As Ostrich developed into new countries, the scientists in these countries would look for any information published on ostrich as they assumed the published data was proven accurate. The practice of referencing in this way has contributed to the ongoing publications of misinformation as it applies to ostrich.
Footnote 2013: Since this item was first published a number of young South African scientists have continued to publish papers. When examined one can see they continue to reference the same past papers without questioning if those early assumptions could possibly be flawed and therefore require testing. They do not question if they could be a possible cause for the continued poor production performance of ostrich.