October 29th, 2010


Dealing with the high quantity of scientific error in medicine

Okay, so lousy research can slip past peer review into journals. But surely as soon as other researchers put the published results to the test, the truth will out, right? Possibly—except that the vast majority of published research is never replicated or validated, or if it is, there is no record of it in research journals. All but the most prominent research tends to enter the records and forever persist as apparently legitimate by default. Martinson estimates that more than 95 percent of medical research findings aren’t replicated. No wonder: replication is more or less unfundable, and if someone does it on his own nickel, the results probably won’t come to light. Even a study that fails to replicate a published result, stated Nature in an editorial, “is unlikely ever to be published, or even submitted for publication.” In 2006 Nature reporter Jim Giles dug up the fact that two out of the four stories plastered on the cover of a 2002 issue of the journal—that is, half of the biggest stories in the world of science that week—had failed replication, without all that much notice being taken of it.

Must read David Freedman's book _Wrong_.

Posted via email from crasch's posterous