Science is in a reproducibility crisis: How do we resolve it?

Sep 20, 2013 by Fiona Fidler & Ascelin Gordon, The Conversation
Scientists are often untrained in methods to make their research replicable. Credit: Pulpolux !!!

Over the past few years, there has been a growing awareness that many experimentally established "facts" don't seem to hold up to repeated investigation.

This was highlighted in a 2010 article in the New Yorker entitled The Truth Wears Off and since then, there have been many popular press accounts of different aspects of science's current reproducibility crisis.

These include an exposé of the increasing number of retractions by and damning demonstrations of failures to replicate high profile studies.

Articles in recent days have discussed how the majority of scientists might be more interested in funding and fame than "truth" and are becoming increasingly reluctant to share unpublished details of their work.

So why exactly is science in such a crisis – and where do we start fixing it?

What caused the reproducibility crisis?

In each discipline, there have been different triggers. In psychology, it was an unreplicable study about extrasensory (ESP); in medicine, it was unreplicable cancer studies.

Behind these (somewhat arbitrary) triggers, however, are the same underlying causes: a combination of mechanised reporting of and publication bias towards "statistically significant" results.

Problems with traditional significance testing and have already been addressed on The Conversation.

So is the crisis a result of scientific fraud?

Not really. Well, maybe a bit. The number of known cases of outright fraud is very low. But what we might consider softer fraud—or "undisclosed flexibility" in data collection—is well documented and appears to be very widespread.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.
… such as this one: Open Science Framework.

There can be little doubt that the "publish or perish" research environment fuels this fire. Funding bodies and that value "novelty" over replication deserve blame too.

While no-one knows the true level of undetected scientific fraud, the best way to deal with this problem is to increase the number of replication studies.

How do we fix it?

Some initiatives are already underway. In psychology, there's the Reproducibility Project, which has previously been covered by The Conversation.

In biomedicine, there's the Reproducibility Initiative. It's backed by the Science Exchange, the journal PLOS ONE, Figshare, and Mendeley. It will initially be accepting 40 to 50 studies for replication with the results of the studies to be published in PLOS ONE.

There are also various other proposals such as

  • a "reproducibility index" for journals, similar to an impact factor
  • changes to the regulations of funding bodies
  • random audits.

The proposals and initiatives mentioned above draw attention to improving methodological protocols, and require a more thoughtful approach to statistical reporting practises.

We might broadly consider these to be issues of researcher integrity. But instruction in research ethics alone is unlikely to be sufficient. Enabling others to replicate studies published across all areas of science will also require changes in the way scientists prepare, submit and peer review journal articles, as well as changes in how science is funded.

This points to a new way of doing science, which can loosely be called "open science". This could include new practices such as open peer-review, and open notebook science and there are already platforms being developed to support these approaches.

Publishing computer source code and supporting data sets with academic articles will be an important change in making research more reproducible. This is a pressing issue with the increasing use of large data sets, computer simulation and sophisticated statistical analysis across many areas of science.

Although some fields of science have developed further in this direction than others, there has recently been a proliferation of services to support scientists publishing data and source code. This includes services such as Figshare, RunMyCode and the Dataverse Network.

In addition there is currently a push to give researchers a greater incentive to publish their data by making scientific datasets citable contributions to the scholarly record and with associated journals such as GigaScience and Earth System Science Data.

While opportunities to share raw data associated with a journal publication are growing, currently only around 9% of articles do so.

Before we assume this is a moral failing on the part of the authors of these articles, we should consider that there are many practical hurdles involved. In many areas of science, researchers are not trained in data curation, version control of or other methodologies required for research to be replicable.

Meeting the challenge

Data sharing and other procedures outlined here can be time-consuming, and currently provide little academic reward. Instruction in these skills will eventually need to become part of mainstream science education.

Methodology and statistics courses are one obvious place for them to find a home. The ethics of the reproducibility and open movements are hard to dispute, but success will depend on how well we rise to meet associated practical and pedagogic challenges.

Explore further: Scientific reproducibility is hampered by a lack of specificity of the material resources

Related Stories

Bias pervades the scientific reporting of animal studies

Jul 17, 2013

A new study published in the open access journal PLOS Biology suggests that the scientific literature could be compromised by substantial bias in the reporting of animal studies, and may be giving a misleading picture of the ...

Recommended for you

What I learned from debating science with trolls

16 hours ago

I often like to discuss science online and I'm also rather partial to topics that promote lively discussion, such as climate change, crime statistics and (perhaps surprisingly) the big bang. This inevitably ...

Activists urge EU to scrap science advisor job

Aug 19, 2014

Nine major charities urged the European Commission on Tuesday to scrap a science advisor position it says puts too much power over sensitive policy into the hands of one person.

More to a skilled ear in music

Aug 15, 2014

The first pilot study in Australia to give musicians the skills and training to critically assess music by what they hear rather than what they see begins this month at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.The study aims to ...

User comments : 80

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

antialias_physorg
3.9 / 5 (19) Sep 20, 2013
These include an exposé of the increasing number of retractions

Let's not blow this out of proportion. The number of redactions compared to the number of published articles is still extremely tiny.

With articles being available electronically readership has increased (which naturally increases the chance of finding errors which may lead to redactions...which is a GOOD thing). So one should not necessarily construe this to mean that scientific practice has gotten more shoddy over the years.

The "publish or perish" paradigma has also lead to an increased frequency of publications (especially publishing earlier in the process) where not all systemic errors have been accounted for. This, too, is not a issue of doing less quality work but of putting the results out earlier (which in turn lead to errors being caught earlier - which lead to redactions...this is a GOOD thing as it can save a researcher a lot of time)
antialias_physorg
4.4 / 5 (12) Sep 20, 2013
Articles in recent days have discussed how the majority of scientists might be more interested in funding and fame than "truth"

And only people not in science can think that this matters.
Funding doesn't translate into salray. And 'fame' is something not to be had in science.
Especially since one false publication is a career-ending move (see Pons & Fleischmann et. al.) the risk of just publishing fo the 'fame' isn't worth it.

the best way to deal with this problem is to increase the number of replication studies.

Good idea. However I don't see how that can be funded.

Publishing computer source code and supporting data sets

Not gonna happen. Funding cuts have led to most projects searching for companies to partially fund it. Companies want to translate findings into products. No way they will let the data or code be open source. Only if we go back to fully state funded research institutions will this work.
Lurker2358
1.3 / 5 (30) Sep 20, 2013
Send me more funding, and then I'll help solve the problem.

It's too easy to get funding to study crack pottery, such as the Big Bang, abiogenesis, and String Theory.

If all these whackos were doing real science, such as medical research, we'd all be better served.

Well, then again, I wouldn't want such lunatics doing medical research. Maybe we could find some part time jobs for them as garbage men; at least then they'd be doing something useful.
Squirrel
1.3 / 5 (14) Sep 20, 2013
A solution exists: every top science journal should devote 10% of their pages to research that fails to find anything, and citation indices should automatically double the impact factors of papers with only nonsignificant results.

This would kill the main factor pushing scientists to be over eager in reporting positive data--the career need for publication in top journals and having highly cited papers.
antialias_physorg
4.5 / 5 (8) Sep 20, 2013
citation indices should automatically double the impact factors of papers with only nonsignificant results

That's not sensible, as impact factor is used as an indication for hiring/appointing professors. Someone could then accrue a high impact factor by simply publishing a lot of stuff that didn't work of stuff with insigificant results. Not sure you want to promote such a person to professor. You want to get the people with significant contributions to the field.

Basically I agree that more papers should be published on stuff that didn't work. On the other hand I realize that this isn't going to happen. Writing a paper takes a LOT of time (time researchers don't have).
Whenever you find out something doesn't work you alter your approach until it does and continue to work until you have something to publish (it's very seldom that something doesn't work to a point where you have to abandon the whole line of thought and start over from scratch)
Lurker2358
1.5 / 5 (17) Sep 20, 2013
A_P:

You're kinda silly.

If you were doing research, it would certainly be beneficial to know that a prior group already proved a particular process doesn't work.

Knowing what doesn't work would then be just as valuable as knowing what does work. It doesn't make sense to research things that are already known (by someone) not to work. And others will only gain that knowledge if the "someone" publishes their negative findings.
antialias_physorg
4.6 / 5 (10) Sep 20, 2013
If you were doing research, it would certainly be beneficial to know that a prior group already proved a particular process doesn't work.

As I said: I agree that stuff should be published if you find out that something doesn't work. In my experience that happens almost never because there is no time (last time I was at a conference where someone did this he got a standing ovation for just that reason).

No one pays you for the time it takes to write papers. You're paid to do research - and research projects have always a fixed time horizon and a fixed budget (which is more than tight. Always.).

Writing a paper can stop your research dead for a month, easy. Writing a journal paper for 3 months. If you'd also write papers on all the stuff you tried that didn't quite come out as planned you'd never get anything done.

It doesn't make sense to research things that are already known (by someone) not to work.

I agree. But we must find other channels for this than papers.
depth12
2.3 / 5 (16) Sep 20, 2013
Send me more funding, and then I'll help solve the problem.

It's too easy to get funding to study crack pottery, such as the Big Bang, abiogenesis, and String Theory.

If all these whackos were doing real science, such as medical research, we'd all be better served.

Well, then again, I wouldn't want such lunatics doing medical research. Maybe we could find some part time jobs for them as garbage men; at least then they'd be doing something useful.

Why their research directly contradicts your religious belief ?.Ha ha this is precious poor fellow .
What an offensive and ignorant person you are. clearly You do not know the benefits of all these research areas, maybe you should keep quiet instead of spewing nonsense.
julianpenrod
1.4 / 5 (20) Sep 20, 2013
When it was just paranormal research, and "officially denounced" subjects like Frank and Yeates' microcomets, that were depicted as having irreproducible results, it was depicted as an ultimate crime against humanity, collusion against the welfare of the human race, to make claims like that.
Now that the sum total of lies and false claims made by "science" are becoming too numerous and major to deny, institutionalized deceit is being represented as "just one of those things", a situation that's all but inescapable, so we should cut the "scientists" who lie some slack.
beleg
1.3 / 5 (12) Sep 20, 2013
I quote:
"...for science and engineering differ in one central respect: in science, you gain power by telling people what you know; in engineering you gain power by PREVENTING people from knowing what you know" pg 162 - Robert B. Laughlin - A Different Universe (Reinventing Physics from the bottom Down)

A jab at intellectual copy-write... (property).
An interesting layperson's read.
Reproducibility vs. Monopoly.

antialias_physorg
4.6 / 5 (9) Sep 20, 2013
In some areas of research it's over 90%

Interesting number. Care to name where you got that from? Or is that again your infallible 'intuition'?
Q-Star
3.7 / 5 (18) Sep 20, 2013
After all, the mainstream physics is not any better, if we consider how many mainstream theories failed recently: SUSY, LGQ and stringy theories, extra-dimensions, scalar field, quintessence, mirror matter, quantum gravitation, axions, dilatons, inflatons, heavy and dark photons, leptoquarks, dark atoms, fat strings and gravitons, magnetic monopoles and anapoles, sterile neutrinos, colorons, fractionally charged particles, chameleon particles, dark fluid and dark baryons, fotinos, gluinos, gauginos, gravitinos and sparticles and WIMPs, SIMPs, MACHOs, RAMBOs, DAEMONs, Randall-Sundrum 5-D phenomena (dark gravitons, K-K gluons a microblack holes.) IMO the 90% of fringe publications is quite realistic guess even for mainstream theoretical physics during last forty years. This research costs billions of dollars every year.


Zephyr, theories fail in science, always have, always will. I notice ya didn't include anything about the aether or AWT on that list of failures.
brt
3.4 / 5 (11) Sep 20, 2013
Send me more funding, and then I'll help solve the problem.

It's too easy to get funding to study crack pottery, such as the Big Bang, abiogenesis, and String Theory.

If all these whackos were doing real science, such as medical research, we'd all be better served.

Well, then again, I wouldn't want such lunatics doing medical research. Maybe we could find some part time jobs for them as garbage men; at least then they'd be doing something useful.


As the article mentions, medical research is where fraud is the most rampant. Also the field where results are not reproducible. Might want to read it next time before saying something stupid. We all know that won't happen though.
Q-Star
3.6 / 5 (14) Sep 20, 2013
Zephyr, theories fail in science, always have, always will. I notice ya didn't include anything about the aether or AWT on that list of failure
This is rather massive extinction, don't you think? Apparently scientists are doing something wrong and your reactions essentially illustrate, what it is. Both Q-Star, both antialias_physorg are young scientists.


What I don't think is failed theories in science are such a big deal. The very first scientist, a fellow name O'Adam, failed with his very first theory, that he could float on aether and wouldn't fall to ground while jumping about in the trees. (His 2nd theory was a dud also Ni'Eve convinced him apples make ya smart.)

Zephyr, there always have been, are now, and always will more "theory" that gets discarded than retained. The trick is to not hold on to the failed ones for 100 years after everyone has discarded it as a failed idea (sort like that one ya left off the list of failures,,, the AWT and the aether.)
NikFromNYC
1.5 / 5 (16) Sep 20, 2013
ShotmanMaslo
1.4 / 5 (11) Sep 21, 2013
After all, the mainstream physics is not any better, if we consider how many mainstream theories failed recently: SUSY, LGQ and stringy theories, extra-dimensions, scalar field, quintessence, mirror matter, quantum gravitation, axions, dilatons, inflatons, heavy and dark photons, ....


Oh, what BS. You do realize that most likely only one theory describes the universe and the rest are wrong? 90% of theories failing is to be expected. Also, SUSY, quantum gravity and strings have not failed at all, only some subset of them was excluded by the LHC.
Humpty
1 / 5 (14) Sep 21, 2013
For truth in journalisim, scientific research and as an authorative source of all things factual - one must always consult the Torah, the Koran and the Bible.

"Is the electron voltage fluctuations of the anti-positron blasphemy or not?"

If it's yes, then the fact is not true.
beleg
1 / 5 (9) Sep 21, 2013
Measuring a static quantum state introduces probability. Any result (of experiment) includes this. Where is this magical probability of one as far as reproducibility is concerned?
beleg
1.4 / 5 (11) Sep 21, 2013
"were proven correct" = were proven to work
Typo. On your part. Your welcome.
Q-Star
3.2 / 5 (13) Sep 21, 2013
How is it possible, these theories aren't affected with magical probability - while the modern theories do need such an excuse and they failed in few first quite fuzzy experiments?


It's called Statistical Mechanics Zeph. Ya can thank Boltzmann, Planck and Einstein for getting that area of physics rolling and on a firm footing. It's one of the most valuable, most useful and most under-appreciated tools in the modern physicist's toolbox.

Let me further amaze ya. Probabilities, numbers between 0 and 1, include such numbers as 0.000000000000000001 & 0.9999999999999999999. Ya must include the chance of one of those (and every number in between) being a possible experimental probability.

Now I realize 0.0000000000000000001 & 0.999999999999999999 don't seem very fuzzy, they are very, very, very, very VERY close to certain, but they do in fact qualify as a fuzzy area in an experiment..
Q-Star
3.7 / 5 (12) Sep 21, 2013
Once again for the most stupid of us: Why the "statistical mechanics" or "magical probability" applies only to physical theories developed during last forty years - whereas the older theories were "proven to work" to many orders of precision?


Boltzmann's work in thermodynamics was a tad over "last forty years" ago. Planck's work photon-electron-energy quanta was a tad over "last forty years" ago. Einstein's work on brownian motion was a tad over "last forty years" ago. These are where statistical mechanics was born. It's become more refined and made more robust ever since.

Statistical mechanics is the ultimate tool for combining observation, theory and experimentation. True, ya would find it distasteful because it doesn't place much value on intuition and relies heavily on the maths, but ya have to admit it has been a great tool for advancing modern physics.
beleg
1.3 / 5 (12) Sep 21, 2013
The older the (physical) theory the less precision.
Depends a lot on the tool making ability of the intelligence probing and questioning reproducibility.

My Mentor is DNA. Pretty smart choice.

ShotmanMaslo
1.4 / 5 (11) Sep 21, 2013
In general, if some theory cannot give distinct results and falsifiable predictions, it's wrong anyway.


I dont think you understand the whole falsifiability thing. Theories have to be falsifiable in principle. In practice, they dont have to be, and since we are limited by our technology, they often are not. This does not mean they are wrong or unscientific at all. Just not tested yet. And many variants will be tested in this decade when the LHC increases its energy.

String theory and associated theories are here to stay until they are actually falsified, that is how it should be and how science operates. And they wont be all falsified any time soon, not even if LHC finds nothing.
Q-Star
3.4 / 5 (10) Sep 21, 2013
Why are you talking about statistical mechanics here? No one of failed theories developed in last forty years has been based on it....


What? Statistical mechanics is at the core of "REPRODUCIBILITY". Zeph, are ya on the drink this morning?
Q-Star
3.4 / 5 (10) Sep 21, 2013
Are you trying to imply that the modern theories aren't reproducible, because they lack the statistical mechanics?


No I'm saying that modern theories must include statistical mechanics. Statistical mechanics is one of the main tools used to evaluate whether they are reproducible and self consistent.

Modern physics does NOT lack statistical mechanics. Modern physics INCLUDES statistical mechanics. Being one who finds that maths are an obstacle to your intuitive method of doing physics I understand why this may be confusing ya.
Q-Star
3.5 / 5 (8) Sep 21, 2013
BTW Do you still remember my AWT-based explanation of it?


Zeph, that is just about the stupidest question anyone has asked here in a very long time. How could any regular visitor here ever forget your AWT-based explanation of everything?

You know, this one with changing character of surface ripples scattering at increasing distance?


It's been a few days since ya have posited your surface rippling waves scattering the water-walking spiders, but I still remember it well. No need to repeat it for the gazillionth time. Telling it a gazillion and one times will not make it any more compelling.
Q-Star
3.4 / 5 (10) Sep 21, 2013
But my question was: how the hell it is relevant to fact, that the older theories worked well and the new theories not?


Ya seem to think that there were more correct theories posited in the olden times than there are today. That is incorrect. The older the theory the more likely it will be found to contain error or incompleteness.

How the AWT explains the spectacular failure of modern physics?


That's an easy one. It doesn't. Modern physics explains the spectacular failure of the AWT.
Q-Star
3.5 / 5 (11) Sep 21, 2013
without any subjective speculations.


It is entirely made of "subjective" (intuition) speculations. It has no quantifiable parameters. It is so "subjective" it applies to biology, cosmology, particle physics, political science, global warming, and spiders hopping over the water ripples.

Apparently I should repeat it here once again.


No ya should not repeat it here once again. But using statistical mechanics I have determined that the probability that ya will is 0.999999999999. That is an experimentally verified observation made many thousand times over the last eight years in a dozen laboratories (forums).
Q-Star
3 / 5 (12) Sep 21, 2013
t's because its general not because it is subjective. It is as general, as the statistical mechanics. After all, the statistical mechanics itself is based on Aether concept.


That is 100% wrong Zeph. Before ya can apply statistical mechanics to phenomena, ya first must have a quantifiable thing to to apply them to. Aether has never been observed, in any form, therefore it is outside of any analysis using statistical mechanics.

Statistical mechanics is not abstract theory, it always deals with large system of countable objects, aka particles colliding in hyperspace.


So how many aether particles have ya counted recently?

The Boltzmann gas in 3D is therefore the most quantitative application of statistical mechanics (it enables to define temperature, equipartition theorem for it, etc.).


No it doesn't "enables to define",,, it enables to quantify and predict.
Q-Star
3.5 / 5 (11) Sep 21, 2013
But you still didn't answer my question, despite "it was repeated here for the gazillionth time".


I certainly did answer your question. Ya just didn't like my answer. The AWT is not scientific, it is not a theory, it is not a model. by your own admission it is general and so general it can be applied to biology, cosmology, particle physics, quantum physics, political science, global warming, earthquakes, and spiders hopping over water ripples,,, it is so general it predicts everything and nothing.

Everything seen is AWT in action. Everything not seen is prevented by the AWT. My mother and father were attracted by the AWT. My dog's preference in kibble is explained by the AWT.
Q-Star
3.7 / 5 (9) Sep 21, 2013
The point is, your answer doesn't follow from AWT.


I should certainly hope not.
depth12
4.3 / 5 (6) Sep 21, 2013
Actually, it could follow from ignorant stance, which AWT predicts for its opponents...;-\


This maybe the most important statement coming from you, which describes the entire nonsense you posted from the begining,
Captain Stumpy
2.1 / 5 (15) Sep 22, 2013
What I like is irrelevant.

then why do you keep bombarding us with your AWT theory? there is ONE simple fix! PROVE that there is an Aether, or a Dense Aether... give PROOF!

i now predict that you will not only NOT bring proof, but that you will start repeating your AWT double-speak and nonsense.

@Q-Star - next time i am in your neck of the woods, i owe you a beer just for putting up with this crap for so long! you will have to share your secret! (must be because you enjoy a good laugh, huh?) LOL
Captain Stumpy
2 / 5 (12) Sep 22, 2013
@Q-Star ... make that 2 beers!

antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (5) Sep 22, 2013
No I'm saying that modern theories must include statistical mechanics.

Oh boy. Ain't that the truth.

And statistics is a very tough field.
A good portion of the redactions aren't due to error in the data, measuring method or unintentional (much less intentional) bias. They're due to the fact of the researcher using the wrong statistical methods.

There are tests for your distributions. There are tests FOR the tests to see which test is applicable. There are tests FOR the tests FOR THESE tests to see which are applicable to test the initial tests for applicability (I'm not kidding). Choosing the wrong test at any stage will skew (or may, in extreme cases, even inavlidate) your conclusions.

Most all researchers are good in math. But getting a grip on all the complexities of statistical analyses requires an expert level that is tough to achieve for someone who has studied anything other than mathematics (or maybe physics).
ryggesogn2
1.3 / 5 (14) Sep 22, 2013
"Science is too important for us to allow it to be hijacked by political and economic special interests. It is time to remove federal funding from scientific research, liberate scientific research from political influence, get scientists off the federal gravy train, and let the market decide what scientific work is worthy of being funded. The statement, "we're toast," is far more likely to be true if politics dominates science than from using fossil fuels to improve our lives."
http://www.forbes...armists/
antialias_physorg
4.3 / 5 (6) Sep 22, 2013
"Science is too important for us to allow it to be hijacked by political and economic special interests. It is time to remove federal funding from scientific research.

Isn't that a very blatant contradiction of itself within the space of a few words?

How exactly would science be NOT hijacked by economic special interests if it were solely funded by companies? If we did that then science would turn into no more than an extension of the advertising department of the respective company.
ryggesogn2
1.3 / 5 (14) Sep 22, 2013
Isn't that a very blatant contradiction of itself within the space of a few words?

What makes govt funding objective?

Those who fund science out of their own pockets would expect value for their money, either a positive or negative result that would drive more funding or none.
If those results are used to lobby for govt policy changes, how would that be any different if the taxpayers funded the research?
If the results are used to advance products and services for a profit, those results must be legitimate or the products/services will fail.
ryggesogn2
1.3 / 5 (15) Sep 22, 2013
How would research not be hijacked by special interests if funded by the state?

Tobacco company funded research was criticized, but govts profited for centuries on the sale of tobacco. Why would any govt research on tobacco or alcohol or oil be trusted since govts plunder revenue from these, and hundreds of other products?
antialias_physorg
4 / 5 (4) Sep 22, 2013
What makes govt funding objective?

The fact that the scientists aren't beholden to the funding agency in any way - as opposed to a company - where any research that does not increase the bottom line is certainly not going to be funded for long. Also the incentive to make stuff up to bolster the value of one's own products based on 'scientific findings' would cast a large doubt on any results.

Notice how companies are already doing this by establishing 'indpendent testing institutes' - whose results are largely wortless. They're just extensions of the ad department. So the effect I'm claiming can already be observed.

Tobacco company funded research was criticized, but govts profited for centuries on the sale of tobacco.

Exactly. Companies lobbied and got the research they wanted. It was the tobacco COMPANIES that caused this problem by biasing the research.
ryggesogn2
1.4 / 5 (13) Sep 22, 2013
'indpendent testing institutes' -

Like the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, funded by insurance companies, that want to earn a profit? The IIHS has more rigorous safety tests for autos than the govt and auto companies redesign their products to earn a high rating from the IIHS.

was the tobacco COMPANIES that caused this problem by biasing the research.


But govts taxes tobacco and plunder much revenue. Why should the govt be trusted with any research on things they tax or want to control?
ryggesogn2
1.3 / 5 (14) Sep 22, 2013
What about the proliferation for research groups like this:
http://www.arp.ha...about-us
Or Michael Mann's group or the dozens of other 'independent' research groups at universities?
Or universities can retain patents and profits on their research?
I tried to find who funds the Andersen Research Group at Harvard, but I couldn't find any references at there site.
ryggesogn2
1.3 / 5 (14) Sep 22, 2013
Years ago I was offered a research project, funded by a local business, to earn a master's degree studying capacitors.
I decided to get a real job instead.
Businesses approach local universities providing funding to research projects they need researched. Is that research tainted?
depth12
3.4 / 5 (5) Sep 22, 2013
"Science is too important for us to allow it to be hijacked by political and economic special interests. It is time to remove federal funding from scientific research, liberate scientific research from political influence, get scientists off the federal gravy train, and let the market decide what scientific work is worthy of being funded. The statement, "we're toast," is far more likely to be true if politics dominates science than from using fossil fuels to improve our lives."


Really , you want pharmaceutical companies to do research without accountability. Do you know what that will mean to people's health. How many people must die before you realise the flaw in your logic? Same goes for cars , food etc.
Independent research has to be scrutinised (including industrial research) and you cannot do it without government labs and help.
antialias_physorg
4.3 / 5 (6) Sep 22, 2013
Why should the govt be trusted with any research on things they tax or want to control?

Because the system is different: Governemnet provide a fund for research. What research actually gets funded is decided by panels of scientists. (E.g. NASA gets a set budget. But what they actually do with it isn't determined by democrat or republican politicians)

If you'd do this via a company then the managers would decide what gets funded - not the scientists. And that's a conflict of interest between doing good research and looking at the bottom line.

I decided to get a real job instead.

A good day for science, that.
ryggesogn2
1.5 / 5 (15) Sep 22, 2013
NASA gets a set budget. But what they actually do with it isn't determined by democrat or republican politicians


Yes, it is. Congress can and does mandate how funds can be allocated and executed.
managers would decide what gets funded

Managers are directly responsible to the owners of the company and would be motivated to fund research that increases profits, competitive advantage, etc. There is no conflict of interest, unless fraud is intended.

panels of scientists

Who, in effect, become politicians, not scientists DOING science. If the the panel was doing the science, to whom would they be accountable?
Governemnet provide a fund for research.

Govt must first plunder the wealth from taxpayers.

"The Army Corps of Engineers spends $5 billion annually constructing dams and other water projects. Yet, in a massive conflict of interest, it is also charged with evaluating the science and economics of each proposed water project. "
depth12
4 / 5 (4) Sep 22, 2013
"Managers are directly responsible to the owners of the company and would be motivated to fund research that increases profits, competitive advantage, etc. There is no conflict of interest, unless fraud is intended."


And , how would you know companies are misleading people with their research or not? How do you they have intended fraud or not?
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (13) Sep 22, 2013
managers would decide what gets funded

Westinghouse funded Tesla's research in exchange for patents.
That worked out pretty well.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (13) Sep 22, 2013
"Managers are directly responsible to the owners of the company and would be motivated to fund research that increases profits, competitive advantage, etc. There is no conflict of interest, unless fraud is intended."


And , how would you know companies are misleading people with their research or not? How do you they have intended fraud or not?


Customer's, competitors and customer subscription services like Consumer Reports, Good Housekeeping, Angie's List, BBB, IIHS, UL, ...
Bernie Madoff's fraud was first reported to the govt regulator by a competitor, but the govt did nothing helping to perpetuate the fraud in a highly regulated industry. Bernie's victims likely would say, "Well the govt hasn't shut him down so he must be legit."

How do you trust a govt that lies about how 4 of its employees were murdered in Libya?
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (13) Sep 22, 2013
The govt approved all the drugs and procedures yet.....

"The American Psychiatric Association's (APA) new list of questionable uses of anti-psychotic medications is part of a broader campaign to educate patients and doctors about unneeded and possibly harmful medical treatments and tests. The campaign is called Choosing Wisely, and so far more than 50 medical groups have chimed in with lists of common practices that patients and doctors should question — everything from ordering too-frequent colonoscopies to using antibiotics for colds."
"The Choosing Wisely campaign is led by the non-for-profit group Advancing Medical Professionalism to Improve Health Care. Consumer Reports is creating educational materials based on the lists of questionable practices."
http://www.usatod...2844419/
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (13) Sep 22, 2013
"One thing that never gets emphasised enough in science, or in schools, or anywhere else, is that no matter how fancy-schmancy your statistical technique, the output is always a probability level (a P-value), the "significance" of which is left for you to judge – based on nothing more concrete or substantive than a feeling, based on the imponderables of personal or shared experience. Statistics, and therefore science, can only advise on probability – they cannot determine The Truth. And Truth, with a capital T, is forever just beyond one's grasp."
" those who are scientists, or who pretend to be scientists, cling to the mantle of a kind of religious authority. And as anyone who has tried to comment on religion has discovered, there is no such thing as criticism. There is only blasphemy."
http://www.thegua...estioned
ubavontuba
1 / 5 (12) Sep 22, 2013
Science is in a reproducibility crisis: How do we resolve it?
Isn't this obvious? Retraction and public humiliation.

The publishers need to strongly police their journals. Any science found not to be reproducible needs to be sent back to the authors. If they can't (or won't) step up to correct the matter in a timely manner, then their paper needs to be publicly retracted, with a complete explanation as to why (including their failure to step up).

Q-Star
3.5 / 5 (11) Sep 22, 2013
The publishers need to strongly police their journals. Any science found not to be reproducible needs to be sent back to the authors. If they can't (or won't) step up to correct the matter in a timely manner, then their paper needs to be publicly retracted, with a complete explanation as to why (including their failure to step up).


The Journals are NOT places where "ultimate" well tested science is presented. That's what the textbooks are for.

The Journals are where new ideas, new approaches are reported. The Journals are where new experimental methods are presented and interpreted.

The Journals are the forums where scientists present their work for the scrutiny of their professional peers.

I think many here are confusing Journals & Textbooks. They serve different proposes.
depth12
3 / 5 (2) Sep 22, 2013
"Managers are directly responsible to the owners of the company and would be motivated to fund research that increases profits, competitive advantage, etc. There is no conflict of interest, unless fraud is intended."


And , how would you know companies are misleading people with their research or not? How do you they have intended fraud or not?


Customer's, competitors and customer subscription services like Consumer Reports, Good Housekeeping, Angie's List, BBB, IIHS, UL, ...


financial companies are nowhere near compared to what drug, food, car industries can do. They can kill people and get away with it.
How would you trust party with a track record of lying start a war with a war mongering president(bush and repub)?
depth12
5 / 5 (2) Sep 22, 2013
"One thing that never gets emphasised enough in science, or in schools, or anywhere else, is that no matter how fancy-schmancy your statistical technique, the output is always a probability level (a P-value), the "significance" of which is left for you to judge – based on nothing more concrete or substantive than a feeling, based on the imponderables of personal or shared experience. Statistics, and therefore science, can only advise on probability – they cannot determine The Truth. And Truth, with a capital T, is forever just beyond one's grasp."."
http://www.thegua...estioned

This hyperbole post of yours contains nothing but an agenda to drive nonsense bs . There is nothing called "Truth in science" Ask any serious scientist and they will laugh at the word.
Only place where this word is commonly used is in religion, yes religion you can't question the so called truth otherwise it falls apart.
ryggesogn2
1.3 / 5 (13) Sep 22, 2013
This hyperbole post of yours contains nothing but an agenda to drive nonsense bs

The author is an editor at Nature:
"Henry Gee is a senior editor of Nature. He is on Twitter at HenryGeeBooks and his book The Accidental Species: Misunderstandings of Human Evolution is published on 21 October by the University of Chicago Press"

They can kill people and get away with it.

Not as easily as govts do. Govts are difficult to sue. There are armies of attorneys eager to sue any business for wrongful death.
Who can sue BHO or Hillary for letting their employees be murdered in Libya?
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (13) Sep 22, 2013
They can kill people and get away with it.

Who holds govt research accountable when it kills people?
FDA approves drugs that kill and disapproves drugs that could have saved people.
Govt research on nutrition has likely caused many to die if they followed their guidelines.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (3) Sep 23, 2013
Who holds govt research accountable when it kills people?

The voter.
Try to see how much your vote counts when you cast it "against a company".

For stuff that concenrns the PUBLIC safety it makes sense to employ PUBLIC services. There is always a conflict of interest when you let private companies handle issues that are of concern to the public as a whole. And it will always lead to the public getting short changed (not because the people behind businesses are necessarily all evil, greedy bastards - but because competition forces them to find ways to cut corners).
ryuhayabusa
1 / 5 (12) Sep 23, 2013
The whole thing is not new. See the Schön-scandal. Lots of his "spectacular" results haven't been reproduced, but they are published and others cites it, and he got funded in large amount.

With half the "spectacular" results of Schön nowadays (ten years after this schock) you can get a professorship very easily.

In conclusion: the way science works has to change,
otherwise the published results will be just tinytiny step in getting knowledge, that they can easily overseen by others groups, or they are irrelavent.
ryggesogn2
1.1 / 5 (10) Sep 23, 2013
The voter.
Try to see how much your vote counts when you cast it "against a company".

I have the opportunity to vote for or against a company hundreds of times a year by buying or not buying their products.
I also have the opportunity to hire lawyer's to sue and join in lawsuits with others.
I can only vote once every two years for a Congressman, once every 6 years for Senators and once every four years for a president.
Living in a 'liberal' state, my vote seldom counts.
MA has a welfare department that demands hundreds of $$ from a member of the state legislature for records. MA has a 'public' transpiration system that lets 'employees' retire at 43 years old. The 'liberal' governor does nothing about it and the 'liberal' voters don't care.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (10) Sep 23, 2013
"The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has long been aware of studies showing the risks of acetaminophen – in particular, that the margin between the amount that helps and the amount that can cause serious harm is smaller than for other pain relievers. So, too, has McNeil Consumer Healthcare, the unit of Johnson & Johnson that has built Tylenol into a billion-dollar brand and the leader in acetaminophen sales."
"Yet federal regulators have delayed or failed to adopt measures designed to reduce deaths and injuries from acetaminophen overdose, "
"McNeil has taken steps to protect consumers, most notably by helping to fund the development of an antidote to acetaminophen poisoning that has saved many lives."
http://www.propub...directed
The govt is doing a bang up job.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (10) Sep 23, 2013
"Bayer, one of the world's largest aspirin makers, had started running advertisements citing acetaminophen's potential to harm the liver, based on the advisory panel's recommendation. "Losses are already in the millions of dollars," McNeil stated in its submission to the FDA."
{When the govt fails, competitors step up....}
"He sued McNeil. In court, the company argued that a virus had destroyed his liver and that the warnings on Tylenol's label were adequate. The jury found for Benedi, awarding him an $8.5 million judgment in 1994. To this day, he will have nothing to do with Tylenol — he always tells doctors and nurses not to give him any."
" FDA officials acknowledged that it has taken longer than it should. They blamed a combination of science and bureaucracy."
http://www.propub...directed

And ultimately, YOU have to decide what to ingest.
rsklyar
1 / 5 (10) Sep 23, 2013
For example, a gang of Harvard "researchers" has already stole in Nature journals and, with further support of the MIT's ones, in ASC Nano Lett both the ideas and money of taxpayers. There are numerous swindlers from David H. Koch Inst. for Integrative Cancer Research and Department of Chemical Engineering, also with Dept of Chemistry and Chem. Biology and School of Engineering and Applied Science of Harvard University at http://issuu.com/...vard_mit .
Their plagiaristic "masterpieces" titled Macroporous nanowire nanoelectronic scaffolds for synthetic tissues (DOI: 10.1038/NMAT3404) and Outside Looking In: Nanotube Transistor Intracellular Sensors (dx.doi.org/10.1021/nl301623p) were funded by NIH Director's Pioneer Award (1DP1OD003900) and a McKnight Foundation Technological Innovations in Neurosc Award, also a Biotechnology Research Endowment from the Department of Anesthesiology at Children's Hospital Boston and NIH grant GM073626, DE013023, and DE016516.
antialias_physorg
4 / 5 (4) Sep 23, 2013
For example, a gang of Harvard "researchers" has already stole...

Would you mind not spamming every article with your unrelated/irrelevant tinfoil-hat conspiracy theories?
Thank you.
indio007
1 / 5 (8) Sep 23, 2013
Is this tin-foil hattery?
From PNAS doi: 10.1073/pnas.1212247109 PNAS October 1, 2012 Misconduct accounts for the majority of retracted scientific publications. from the abstract A detailed review of all 2,047 biomedical and life-science research articles indexed by PubMed as retracted on May 3, 2012 revealed that only 21.3% of retractions were attributable to error. In contrast, 67.4% of retractions were attributable to misconduct, including fraud or suspected fraud (43.4%), duplicate publication (14.2%), and plagiarism (9.8%)..... "The percentage of scientific articles retracted because of fraud has increased ∼10-fold since 1975."

DETECTED scientific fraud is at epidemic proportions. I say detected because it seems fraud is usually undetected with rare exceptions (Piltdown Man).
antialias_physorg
4.2 / 5 (5) Sep 23, 2013
from the abstract A detailed review of all 2,047 biomedical and life-science research articles indexed by PubMed as retracted...

But you have to add that you get stuff like Dr. Fujii - who alone accounts for 172 of those.
While this is an extreme example it serves to illustrate that this is not a widespread problem, but rather one that is perpetrated by a few people/institutions.

Then you have to consider that the number of readactions still only account for 0.01% of all papers. That's a pretty decent number and far from 'epidemic proportions' or other hyperbole. (Show me any other profession where there are THAT few rotten eggs. Or even just less than 100 times as many)

Personally I attribute the higher number of detected frauds to a combination of larger scientific community (more readers/better review), easier access (electronic vs. library), and the pressure to publish or perish - not to scientist turning evil in large numbers.
brt
2.2 / 5 (10) Sep 23, 2013
Years ago I was offered a research project, funded by a local business, to earn a master's degree studying capacitors.
I decided to get a real job instead.
Businesses approach local universities providing funding to research projects they need researched. Is that research tainted?


what was the real job that you decided to get?
brt
2.1 / 5 (11) Sep 23, 2013
How would research not be hijacked by special interests if funded by the state?

Tobacco company funded research was criticized, but govts profited for centuries on the sale of tobacco. Why would any govt research on tobacco or alcohol or oil be trusted since govts plunder revenue from these, and hundreds of other products?


The government profits off of the sale of every product. We call it "taxation". All governments do it in order to exist. You get things like roads, bridges, public transportation, police, hospitals, fire stations... and so on for it.
brt
2.3 / 5 (12) Sep 23, 2013
Once again for the most stupid of us: Why the "statistical mechanics" or "magical probability" applies only to physical theories developed during last forty years - whereas the older theories were "proven to work" to many orders of precision?


If you don't WANT to know how the universe works, then what is the point of anyone trying to tell you?
Scottish Sceptic
1.4 / 5 (10) Sep 25, 2013
The bigger problem is that the scientific elite have been actively colluding to prevent proper investigation of failings in science. E.g. in 2009 we had the Climategate affair. This showed e.g. scientists conspiring to break FOI law ... and the only reason the FOIs were being raised was because the scientists refused to make available their data because, as they said to sceptics "you only want to find problems in them".

Dealt with at the time, it would have been embarrassing, but standards would have been improved, systems changed and the whole subject would probably have a good reputation by now. In contrast, from the evidence I have seen there was a conspiracy to prevent the scientific work being examined in the inquiries and it has since emerged that some of those involved lied to an inquiry. No action was taken.

The scientific elite who should be upholding standards are colluding with perpetrators and will not sort it out. Only a police investigation could change anything.
Scottish Sceptic
1.3 / 5 (12) Sep 25, 2013
.... what no one seems to have considered is that we may already have discovered as much as is practical to discover ... particularly in subjects like Physics.

If all the low-hanging fruit have been picked, it may mean that the research which remains isn't an economically viable proposition for society and we would be better e.g. giving the money to the poor.
brt
2.1 / 5 (11) Sep 25, 2013
.... what no one seems to have considered is that we may already have discovered as much as is practical to discover ... particularly in subjects like Physics.

If all the low-hanging fruit have been picked, it may mean that the research which remains isn't an economically viable proposition for society and we would be better e.g. giving the money to the poor.


The current limits to miniaturization of circuits and computers proves that there is still plenty to discover and that there is plenty (if not far more) research remaining which is extremely economically viable. Not only that, but if we don't discover it, then we are in for a very bumpy ride since a large portion of the world's economy is built on the continued miniaturization of technology.
ryggesogn2
1.4 / 5 (11) Sep 25, 2013
The government profits off of the sale of every product.

No, it plunders wealth. The govt cannot profit.
All governments do it in order to exist.

Right. Govts are parasites.
You get things like roads, bridges, public transportation, police, hospitals, fire stations... and so on for it.

All do NOT require a govt in order to exist.

Read more at: http://phys.org/n...html#jCp
brt
2 / 5 (12) Sep 25, 2013
ryggesogn2:

I never said that they require govt in order to exist. I said you get these benefits from having a govt. Go 6 comments above this one and read it again until you understand it.

In other words, they aren't steeling your teabagging money. They are collecting it and distributing it to things that a majority of us (not you) decide will make the world a better place to live in...like those things mentioned above.
ryggesogn2
1.4 / 5 (11) Sep 25, 2013
you get these benefits from having a govt.

The people from DPRK don't get these 'benefits', so your implication was govt WAS required.
hey are collecting it and distributing

At the point of a gun, which is called plunder.
majority of us (not you) decide will make the world a better place to live in

Like socialized health care that is forcing people out of work, driving up health costs...
And of course the govt refuses to enforce laws that would make the US a better place to live, like immigration laws, spying on groups opposed to the 'dear leader' and preventing groups opposed to the 'dear leader' from have the same tax privileges as those who support the 'dear leader'.
brt
1.4 / 5 (11) Sep 25, 2013
You're a racist ryggesogn2, plain and simple. I know you hate Obama and all that stupid shit, but take it somewhere else man.
ryggesogn2
1.4 / 5 (11) Sep 25, 2013
brt is dj or just another 'liberal' like dj who can't defend socialism and must revert to crying "racist".
Why is it important for this site and this particular article?
How can people like brt or dj or other socialists be trusted to comment intelligently on science?
Carl Popper was motivated by socialism to develop his falsification definition for science so why do so many 'scientists' cling to socialism?
Hayek wrote that the 'intellectuals' need a state to plunder the wealth to pay for their 'intellectualism' since the free market would not.
Kiwini
1.3 / 5 (15) Sep 25, 2013
You're a racist ryggesogn2, plain and simple. I know you hate Obama and all that stupid shit, but take it somewhere else man.


It appears as though ryggesogn2 was making progress in regard to his earlier point about governments. And then, when reality failed to reinforce one of their own pet positions, a "progressive" has pulled out the race card in order to slander the opposition.

When your POV fails to prevail, your traditional fall-back is always an accusation of bigotry, and the real question is, why?.
brt
1.4 / 5 (9) Sep 25, 2013
I just thought calling you a racist would either enrage you by the stupidity of such an unfounded claim or get you to post some idiotic extremist comment about politics since that's as deep as your insight goes...politics. Everyone is either correct or a dirty damned lib-ral. Deep.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (11) Sep 25, 2013
calling you a racist would either enrage you by the stupidity of such an unfounded claim

How honest! Calling yourself stupid.
When I use the term 'liberal', I can support the definition. 1) Using a slur to describe tea parties and 2) defending the state plunder of private property.