Science Faux Pas Example #1: 97% of internet users have internet access

I am starting a new series here on Science Faux Pas.  Here is one of my favorites from Nature a while back.  They report in this promotion that 97% of Nature’s readers have internet access.  How did they determine this? By an online readers survey.  The real question is – who are the 3% that completed the survey but said they did not have internet access?

I am going to try and make a collection of these over time so if you have any or can point to some out there please let me know.  It may not be as fun as Carl Zimmer’s tattoo series, but there are some doozies out there.

About Jonathan Eisen

I am an evolutionary biologist and a Professor at U. C. Davis. (see my lab site here). My research focuses on the origin of novelty (how new processes and functions originate). To study this I focus on sequencing and analyzing genomes of organisms, especially microbes and using phylogenomic analysis
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8 Responses to Science Faux Pas Example #1: 97% of internet users have internet access

  1. dr. snail says:

    Fuck Nature. My school doesn’t have internet access, only paper.


  2. RBH says:

    This reminds me of the recorded message on my ISP’s technical support telephone line telling me that if I am having trouble accessing the web I should go to


  3. Anonymous says:

    Was it “online readers” survey (not necessarily conducted online) or was it “readers survey” conducted online?


  4. Well, it says “Nature on-line readers survey”. To me that implies that they took the survey on-line. I cannot imagine that Nature on-line sent out a written survey to people about this. But who knows.


  5. ABP says:

    Well this doesn’t exactly count but yesterday I discovered that a form on the NSF Fastlane system wants to know whether your foreign language skill is None, Fair, Good or “Excelent.”


  6. abp – can you capture the fastlane output as a gif or pdf and post it? that one is quite good


  7. ABP says:

    Sure here it is:< HREF="" REL="nofollow">excelent<>


  8. briliant, phemoenal, faabulous, grate, and wanderful


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