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Bypass and hyperbole in soil research: A personal view on plausible causes and possible remedies

Abstract : The literature of the past couple of decades, related to soils, contains many instances of bypass, that is, the deliberate avoidance of part of the older literature in spite of its direct relevance to the topics being covered, and hyperbole, that is, exaggerated claims that are not supported either by existing knowledge or by experimental observations. Regardless of one's epistemological perspective, it would seem self‐evident that both of these practices are bound to be detrimental in the long term to the pursuit of scientific research, whose best chances of success are when one stands on the shoulders of those who preceded us, and when we present accurately the true extent of progress that is achieved. In the present opinion piece, I try to present my perspective on what may have encouraged researchers working on soils to resort to bypass or hyperbole. The premise of this piece is that only if one has some idea, as personal and hence subjective as it may be, of the roots of an ailment, can one hope to ever find a cure. Different avenues that could be pursued by institutions as well as individuals (even at the onset of their careers) to curb these worrisome practices are outlined.
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https://hal.inrae.fr/hal-02871160
Contributor : Anaïs Durivault <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, June 17, 2020 - 9:58:22 AM
Last modification on : Thursday, June 17, 2021 - 3:11:18 AM

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Philippe Baveye. Bypass and hyperbole in soil research: A personal view on plausible causes and possible remedies. European Journal of Soil Science, Wiley, 2021, 72 (1), pp.21-28. ⟨10.1111/ejss.12940⟩. ⟨hal-02871160⟩

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