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.

Author: 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

8 thoughts on “Science Faux Pas Example #1: 97% of internet users have internet access”

  1. 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.


  2. 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.”


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