Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Is Most Published Research Really False?

Date:
February 27, 2007
Source:
Public Library of Science
Summary:
In 2005, PLoS Medicine published an essay by John Ioannidis, called "Why most published research findings are false," that has been downloaded over 100,000 times. This week, PLoS Medicine revisits the essay, publishing two articles by researchers that move the debate in two new directions.

In 2005, PLoS Medicine published an essay by John Ioannidis, called "Why most published research findings are false," that has been downloaded over 100,000 times and that was called "an instant cult classic" in a Boston Globe op-ed of July 27 2006. This week, PLoS Medicine revisits the essay, publishing two articles by researchers that move the debate in two new directions.

In his 2005 essay, Dr Ioannidis wrote: "Published research findings are sometimes refuted by subsequent evidence, with ensuing confusion and disappointment." He argued that there is increasing concern that in modern research, false findings may be the majority or even the vast majority of published research claims, and went on to try and prove that most claimed research findings are false.

However, in this week's PLoS Medicine, Ramal Moonesinghe (US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and colleagues demonstrate that the likelihood of a published research result being true increases when that finding has been repeatedly replicated in multiple studies.

"As part of the scientific enterprise," say the authors, "we know that replication--the performance of another study statistically confirming the same hypothesis--is the cornerstone of science and replication of findings is very important before any causal inference can be drawn." While the importance of replication was acknowledged by Dr Ioannidis, say Dr Moonesinghe and colleagues, he did not show that the likelihood of a statistically significant research finding being true increases when that finding has been replicated in many studies.

The authors say that their new demonstration "should be encouraging news to researchers in their never-ending pursuit of scientific hypothesis generation and testing." Nevertheless, they acknowledge that "more methodologic work is needed to assess and interpret cumulative evidence of research findings and their biological plausibility," particularly in the exploding field of genetic associations.

In the second article, Benjamin Djulbegovic (University of South Florida, USA) and Iztok Hozo (Indiana University Northwest, USA) say that Dr Ioannidis "did not indicate when, if at all, potentially false research results may be considered as acceptable to society." In their article, they calculate the probability above which research findings may become acceptable.

Djulebegovic and Hozo's new model indicates that the probability above which research results should be accepted depends on the expected payback from the research (the benefits) and the inadvertent consequences (the harms). This probability may dramatically change depending on our willingness to tolerate error in accepting false research findings. Our acceptance of research findings changes as a function of what the authors call "acceptable regret," i.e., our tolerance of making a wrong decision in accepting the research hypothesis. They illustrate their findings by providing a new framework for early stopping rules in clinical research (i.e., when should we accept early findings from a clinical trial indicating the benefits as true?).

"Obtaining absolute 'truth' in research, say Djulbegovic and Hozo, "is impossible, and so society has to decide when less-than-perfect results may become acceptable."

Citations:

Moonesinghe R, Khoury MJ, Janssens ACJW (2007) Most published research fi ndings are false--But a little replication goes a long way. PLoS Med 4(2): e28. (http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0040028)

Djulbegovic B, Hozo I (2007) When should potentially false research fi ndings be considered acceptable? PLoS Med 4(2): e26. (http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0040026)


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Public Library of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Public Library of Science. "Is Most Published Research Really False?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 February 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/02/070227105745.htm>.
Public Library of Science. (2007, February 27). Is Most Published Research Really False?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/02/070227105745.htm
Public Library of Science. "Is Most Published Research Really False?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/02/070227105745.htm (accessed April 24, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Big Pharma Braces for M&A Wave

Big Pharma Braces for M&A Wave

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 22, 2014) Big pharma on the move as Novartis boss, Joe Jimenez, tells Reuters about plans to transform his company via an asset exchange with GSK, and Astra Zeneca shares surge on speculation that Pfizer is looking for a takeover. Joanna Partridge reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) A new study finds most crimes committed by people with mental illness are not caused by symptoms of their illness or disorder. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hagel Gets Preview of New High-Tech Projects

Hagel Gets Preview of New High-Tech Projects

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is given hands-on demonstrations Tuesday of some of the newest research from DARPA _ the military's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency program. (April 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) NBC's "Today" conducted an experiment to see if changing the size of plates and utensils affects the amount individuals eat. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins