Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Most scientific papers are probably wrong

Go figure. Small wonder that there is so much "junk" science around. And so goes the revered scientist and his over-respected opinion. This country farmer knows that unless you see it for yourself, it's probably not true. That's from an "I'm from Missouri, so you'll have to show me" native.

"Most published scientific research papers are wrong, according to a new analysis. Assuming that the new paper is itself correct, problems with experimental and statistical methods mean that there is less than a 50% chance that the results of any randomly chosen scientific paper are true.

John Ioannidis, an epidemiologist at the University of Ioannina School of Medicine in Greece, says that small sample sizes, poor study design, researcher bias, and selective reporting and other problems combine to make most research findings false. But even large, well-designed studies are not always right, meaning that scientists and the public have to be wary of reported findings.

'We should accept that most research findings will be refuted. Some will be replicated and validated. The replication process is more important than the first discovery,' Ioannidis says."

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