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November 1977

On Publishing Hypotheses

Author Affiliations

Dept of Pathology Univ of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio, TX 78284

Arch Neurol. 1977;34(11):723-724. doi:10.1001/archneur.1977.00500230093029

To the Editor.—  The hypothesis presented by Dr Nelson and associates in the June issue of the Archives (34:332, 1977) relative to the pathogenesis of central hemorrhagic necrosis in spinal cord injury reminds me of a criticism of medical research by Dr John Platt in 1964.1 Platt suggested that the physical sciences have far outperformed the biological sciences in their research advances because of the difference in their methods of scientific thinking, namely, inductive vs deductive reasoning. Aside from the more obvious limitations to the biological sciences of the method Platt called "strong inference,"2.3 I believe that this approach should be followed not only by those doing research but also by those responsible for publishing research results. How refreshing it would be to have journals concerned with the testing or formulation of hypotheses instead of the current trend towards publications borne out of curiosity, just another obscure

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