What's causing the "reproducibility crisis" – and is there a cure?
Peter Kissinger | | Longer Read
Over the past five years, there has been a steady increase in the number of papers withdrawn from top journals – largely after the results were found to be impossible to replicate. This phenomenon has been dubbed a “reproducibility crisis.”
In government, forensic labs have been caught “dry labbing” data, while more than one pharmaceutical manufacturer has been shut down by the FDA after quality control labs have been found to be “testing to compliance” by throwing out data that missed the mark. In some cases, so-called “predatory journals” with weak or nonexistent peer review have been implicated. In others, scientific fraud has been discovered, careers ruined, and coworkers embarrassed.
In some fields of science, such as psychology and oncology, the challenges have been especially numerous. In biology, there have been incidental errors with cell lines and sourcing antibodies on which assays depend; quality was assumed but not validated, and instruments have been trusted but not calibrated. In other cases, solutions have been used long after their expiration date, or clinical trial data tampered with. All things considered, critics have been given every reason to be hard on scientists. Fake news annoys, but fake science destroys.
What is causing the crisis? An amalgamation of factors are at play – these include more complex science, more sophisticated instruments with which many users are unfamiliar, a highly competitive funding climate, pressure to publish positive results (and to do so ahead of competitor labs), and also – of course – pleasing the boss.
Read the full article now
Log in or register to read this article in full and gain access to The Analytical Scientist’s entire content archive. It’s FREE and always will be!
Or register now - it’s free and always will be!
You will benefit from:
- Unlimited access to ALL articles
- News, interviews & opinions from leading industry experts
- Receive print (and PDF) copies of The Analytical Scientist magazine
Or Login via Social Media
By clicking on any of the above social media links, you are agreeing to our Privacy Notice.