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Senior Vice-President for Research and Innovation, Professor of Theoretical Physics, Michigan State University

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Replication and cumulative knowledge in life sciences

See Ioannidis at MSU for video discussion of related topics with the leading researcher in this area, and also Medical Science? Is Science Self-Correcting?
The Economics of Reproducibility in Preclinical Research (PLoS Biology)

Abstract: Low reproducibility rates within life science research undermine cumulative knowledge production and contribute to both delays and costs of therapeutic drug development. An analysis of past studies indicates that the cumulative (total) prevalence of irreproducible preclinical research exceeds 50%, resulting in approximately US$28,000,000,000 (US$28B)/year spent on preclinical research that is not reproducible—in the United States alone. We outline a framework for solutions and a plan for long-term improvements in reproducibility rates that will help to accelerate the discovery of life-saving therapies and cures.
From the introduction:
Much has been written about the alarming number of preclinical studies that were later found to be irreproducible [1,2]. Flawed preclinical studies create false hope for patients waiting for lifesaving cures; moreover, they point to systemic and costly inefficiencies in the way preclinical studies are designed, conducted, and reported. Because replication and cumulative knowledge production are cornerstones of the scientific process, these widespread accounts are scientifically troubling. Such concerns are further complicated by questions about the effectiveness of the peer review process itself [3], as well as the rapid growth of postpublication peer review (e.g., PubMed Commons, PubPeer), data sharing, and open access publishing that accelerate the identification of irreproducible studies [4]. Indeed, there are many different perspectives on the size of this problem, and published estimates of irreproducibility range from 51% [5] to 89% [6] (Fig 1). Our primary goal here is not to pinpoint the exact irreproducibility rate, but rather to identify root causes of the problem, estimate the direct costs of irreproducible research, and to develop a framework to address the highest priorities. Based on examples from within life sciences, application of economic theory, and reviewing lessons learned from other industries, we conclude that community-developed best practices and standards must play a central role in improving reproducibility going forward. ...

1 comment:

SethTS said...

Just spotted this cite from Noahpinion: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2249314

Authors "raise an eyebrow" at the 300+ factors alleged (cumulatively by many researchers) to contribute to stock returns. Apparently influenced, possibly inspired, by medical reproducibility questions.

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