The world moves at a far faster pace than even a decade ago. Instantaneous access to electronic communication via email and social media is available 24 hours a day, virtually anywhere in the world, on the ground and in the air, with video and audio on demand. Thus, no one ever needs to be—or ever is—disconnected from the world.
The speed of communication has clearly affected clinical and laboratory research. There appears to be an increasing rush to publish, or at least to make the results of studies immediately publicly available. It is unclear if flawed science is more common than in the past, but the number of accounts of serious problems with scientific reports appears to be increasing, with more high-profile retractions and increasing numbers of retractions with replacements (major inadvertent errors with a change in the findings and conclusions).1 However, because more research is being published, it is difficult to obtain precise numerator (retractions) and denominator data (all research conducted, published and unpublished).2
Nonetheless, concerns about the reproducibility of laboratory-based experiments3 and the need to reanalyze clinical data4 certainly suggest increasing challenges regarding the quality and transparency of research. High-visibility examples leave an impression of questionable science that is likely contributing to the public discourse over the meaning and definition of facts.