But Solomon Snyder, senior editor at the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and a neuroscientist at Johns Hopkins Medical School in Baltimore, US, says most working scientists understand the limitations of published research.
"When I read the literature, I'm not reading it to find proof like a textbook. I'm reading to get ideas. So even if something is wrong with the paper, if they have the kernel of a novel idea, that's something to think about," he says.
What the hell? This is a senior editor of the Proceedings of the National Frickin Academy of Sciences, for Loki's sake! Unless his words are being quoted inaccurately or out of context, Solomon has forever resolved the question of whether computer science is actually a science.
It most assuredly is.
Peter Denning's recent CACM article explains why computer scientists fit right in with all those other lab-coated logorrheic bozos.
We have allowed the hype of advertising departments to infiltrate our laboratories. In a sample of 400 computer science papers published before 1995, Walter Tichy found that approximately 50% of those proposing models or hypotheses did not test them . In other fields of science the fraction of papers with untested hypotheses was about 10%. Tichy concluded that our failure to test more allowed many unsound ideas to be tried in practice and lowered the credibility of our field as a science.
By this standard, theoretical computer science is not only not a science, it's not even computer science!