Archive for April 27th, 2013

The discussion on publishing models, the problems of peer-review and the lack of reproducibility in science took a new turn last week when Nature Publishing Group stiffened their policies on data integrity.
This is a great move and motivated by concerns over the reproducibility of published work. Indeed I have heard from industry figures as high as “50% of biomedical papers are not reproducible”. Examples include a study by Amgen, which showed that 47 of 53 papers they examined failed the reproducibility test and one by Bayer, where 43 of 47 papers were found not to be reproducible.
The problem is not restricted to clinical science. So a simple question is why? After all, reproducibility is meant to lie at the heart of science. A compelling article in the New York Times, based on an interview with Stapel, the fraudulent Dutch psychologist, provides some key insights. The article, entitled “The mind of a con man” by Yudhijit Bhattacharjee should be compulsory reading.
What follows is not an attempt to place blame, but to see what lessons we can learn. I have selected a few excerpts. (more…)

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