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Weaken. The correct answer choice is (A)
The conclusion for this Stimulus is contained in the first sentence: “There is no reason why the work of scientists has to be officially confirmed before being published.” The remainder of the Stimulus supports this conclusion; it answers the “because” questions. At its core, the author is attempting to say that confirmation is not necessary before publication of findings because good scientific work will be replicated and poor scientific work will be exposed.
The Question Stem contains a typical weaken question. What’s wrong with what the author is proposing? One initial statement he makes is that poor scientific work “is not harmful.” This statement is a little too broad and a weakness in his position. Another weakness in his argument is that there will be relatively immediate confirmation or refutation of the published scientific results. In identifying weaknesses ahead of reading the Answer Choices, one is in a better position to attack the test.
Answer Choice (A): This is the correct answer choice. It addresses one of the pre-identified weaknesses in the author’s argument: that some significant period of time can lapse before a scientific finding is confirmed by replication.
Answer Choice (B): This answer actually strengthens the author’s conclusion that confirmation is not necessary because of peer review. This peer review serves as confirmation of the results. Answer Choice (B) should be eliminated.
Answer Choice (C): This answer does not weaken the conclusion and may in fact strengthen it. By making their work available for replication, scientists are having their work confirmed, possibly prior to publication. Answer Choice (C) should be eliminated.
Answer Choice (D): This a “so what?” answer choice. It does not matter for this question that careless reporting is more common than fraud in scientific experiments. Answer Choice (D) should be eliminated.
Answer Choice (E): This answer could actually strengthen the conclusion rather than weaken it. In working as team, scientists have an informal “peer review” as in Answer Choice (B), which could in fact be a confirmation of the scientific results. Answer Choice (E) should also be eliminated.
Because there is only one Answer Choice that weakens the argument while the other four do not (three of them may in fact strengthen the author’s conclusion), Answer Choice (A) is the correct choice.