Consensus science and the impact on analytical chemistry

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2 Citations (Scopus)


The origin of uncertainty is discussed vigorously in analytical science and, at present stage, it is unclear as to what extent scientists themselves impose uncertainty on the measurements or the apparatuses possess large levels of uncertainty of measurement.1-3 Introduction of certified-reference materials (CRM's) and standard-reference materials (SRM's) in analytical chemistry has revealed that scientists and professional laboratories disagree about value of results and quality of measurement. Reproducibility is poor in many cases and it is impossible to understand why some laboratories are able to produce excellent results, whereas other laboratories produce poor results despite the fact that both analyzed the same compound with the same type of apparatus. Science is divided about this issue where one party believes that uncertainty originates from incompetence of laboratory staff and the other party believes that uncertainty relates entirely to the quality of the apparatus. The alleged lack of compliance4 will be demonstrated by examples and case studies with determination of calcium by flame-Atomic absorption spectrometry (FAAS). It is suggested that discrepancies can be explained entirely with inherent properties of the system, and human error is negligible. It is shown that universal compliance can be obtained by accepting the real uncertainty of measurement without rejection of outliers. These results strongly indicate that scientific methodology should be altered by introduction of consensus science. The consensus value is the most likely result that can be obtained under a given set of circumstances but the real value is genuinely unknown. Consensus science has some immediate and fundamental consequences for analytical chemistry, which are discussed in detail.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)397-402
Number of pages6
JournalRevue Roumaine de Chimie
Issue number5-6
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry


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