spotted elsewhere: how science goes wrong

A friend of mine recently pointed out to me an article from The Economist that lists some of the deficiencies of the current scientific system. As stated in the article, a large fraction of the results published in scientific journals could not be verified through reproduction:

Last year researchers at one biotech firm, Amgen, found they could reproduce just six of 53 “landmark” studies in cancer research. Earlier, a group at Bayer, a drug company, managed to repeat just a quarter of 67 similarly important papers.

As explanation, the article identifies a combination of two factors. First, it blames the current “publish or perish” system, where solely publications matter, and “verification does little to advance a researcher’s career”. And second, it points out the bias of scientific journals to publish positive results:

“Negative results” now account for only 14% of published papers, […]

Given these circumstances,

Careerism also encourages exaggeration and the cherry-picking of results.


Posted on 2013/10/23, in science and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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