[Irtalk] PLOS Medicine: Why Most Published Research Findings Are False

Hilton Gibson hilton.gibson at gmail.com
Wed Jan 1 22:28:14 SAST 2014

There is increasing concern that most current published research findings
are false. The probability that a research claim is true may depend on
study power and bias, the number of other studies on the same question,
and, importantly, the ratio of true to no relationships among the
relationships probed in each scientific field. In this framework, a
research finding is less likely to be true when the studies conducted in a
field are smaller; when effect sizes are smaller; when there is a greater
number and lesser preselection of tested relationships; where there is
greater flexibility in designs, definitions, outcomes, and analytical
modes; when there is greater financial and other interest and prejudice;
and when more teams are involved in a scientific field in chase of
statistical significance. Simulations show that for most study designs and
settings, it is more likely for a research claim to be false than true.
Moreover, for many current scientific fields, claimed research findings may
often be simply accurate measures of the prevailing bias. In this essay, I
discuss the implications of these problems for the conduct and
interpretation of research.

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.lib.sun.ac.za/pipermail/irtalk/attachments/20140101/c1e866bd/attachment.html>

More information about the Irtalk mailing list