Intelligent Design

Nature on the reproducibility “crisis”

Spread the love

It’s real. From Nature:

Survey sheds light on the ‘crisis’ rocking research.

More than 70% of researchers have tried and failed to reproduce another scientist’s experiments, and more than half have failed to reproduce their own experiments. Those are some of the telling figures that emerged from Nature’s survey of 1,576 researchers who took a brief online questionnaire on reproducibility in research.

The data reveal sometimes-contradictory attitudes towards reproducibility. Although 52% of those surveyed agree that there is a significant ‘crisis’ of reproducibility, less than 31% think that failure to reproduce published results means that the result is probably wrong, and most say that they still trust the published literature.More.

Excuse me. In community medicine, this is called “denial.”

1. We don’t know if it is true.

2. In a situation that matters, we believe it anyway, to show our loyalty!

= “Officer, I noticed he couldn’t easily get the keys into the ignition, but I had faith he had stopped drinking. I won’t be charged, will I?”

Incidentally, professed skeptic Michael Shermer used to hold forth on the glories of peer review as the gold standard of science. But even he recently heard the hundredth shoe drop. Heck, there might be hope instead of just hype.

See also: Nature tries to referee Horgan vs. the skeptics

Follow UD News at Twitter!

9 Replies to “Nature on the reproducibility “crisis”

  1. 1
    clown fish says:

    Peer review is only one part of the equation. It’s goal, not always met, is to ensure that papers that are published have addressed the major concerns of the reviewers before they are published. Peer review is not intended to question the conclusion, only to question whether or not the processes used to come to that conclusion meet basic scientific processes. But, obviously, it is not as unbiased as we would like. After all, humans are involved.

    The other part of the equation is reproducibility. To my mind, this is the biggest weakness, not peer review. Not the high rate of not being able to reproduce, but more that very few experiments are actually attempted to be reproduced. This comes from the ethos that a researcher trying to reproduce someone else’s research does not carry the same prestige as doing original research.

    Off topic: are you enjoying the hot and humid weather in Ottawa?

  2. 2
    News says:

    clown fish at 1: The big problem here in Ottawa is rainfall advisories – downgraded or cancelled! Dam. Must figure out how to turn on hose outpipe* before rationing hits.

    Is there Big Money in Global Drying?

    * In a northern environment, one must turn off ALL water service to pipes that could fall below freezing in winter.

    Never needed them before anyway, so never cared if they were on or off. Generally, mulch works.

  3. 3
    clown fish says:

    And this is the Ottawa race weekend. I mowed the lawn (a small one) and was soaked in sweat by the time I was done.

    Keep cool.

  4. 4
    News says:

    clown fish at 3: We need less sweat and more real rain. The kind one can’t pay for. Rain that soaks everything, so everything “plant” starts from water plus.

  5. 5
    clown fish says:

    Ahh. Rain.

  6. 6
    J-Mac says:

    “Survey sheds light on the ‘crisis’ rocking research.

    More than 70% of researchers have tried and failed to reproduce another scientist’s experiments, and more than half have failed to reproduce their own experiments. Those are some of the telling figures that emerged from Nature’s survey of 1,576 researchers who took a brief online questionnaire on reproducibility in research.

    Is this really the greatest problem with science today, when put in a prospective?

    Let’s see: Scientists have failed to reproduce what random accidents have apparently accomplished-the origin of life.
    Scientists have failed what random processes apparently accomplished by evolving the prokaryotic cell into eukaryotic one.

    Scientist have failed to reproduce macroevolution-what apparently natural selection acting on random mutations, genetic drift or neutral evolution-not involving intelligence-have accomplished. One has gotta question the intelligence of the scientists who can’t reproduce design-by-accident… I guess…

    Which problem seems more problematic when someone considers that on the the latter problems most of the science have been build and experiments have been performed…

  7. 7
    clown fish says:

    Unfortunately, the rain didn’t last.

  8. 8
    Robert Byers says:

    its funny. however IS IT POSSIBLE it was this bad 100, 50, 25, years ago but the investigation of reproducibility was not as great as today???
    Surely evolutionism is the greatest non reproduced hypothesis in science history? Yet they say they did and do it!
    they don’t and never will.

  9. 9
    tjguy says:

    At the peer review level, there’s more problems. Science Magazine also addressed implicit bias in peer review, recommending substantial changes in the practice (implying it has not been working up till now).

    At the personal bias level, “we all have it,” Marcia McNutt (editor of Science Magazine) admitted. In her view, it’s an evolutionary trait.

    We all have it. Implicit bias was the shorthand that allowed our distant ancestors to make split-second decisions (friend or foe?) based on incomplete information. It provided a razor-thin reaction-time advantage that could mean life or death. But today, we no longer need to assume that people who do not look or sound like us pose an immediate threat. Instead, successful organizations and people welcome those who do not necessarily look, think, and act like they do. They must overcome that implicit bias wired into the human DNA if they are to reap the benefits of diversity. To explore the extent of implicit bias in peer review, and what can be done to counter it, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS, the publisher of Science) recently convened a day-long forum of editors, publishers, funders, and experts on implicit bias in Washington, DC (see p. 1067).

    Questions arise at this statement. If implicit bias is wired into human DNA, it must be there to advance fitness (in McNutt’s worldview). Wouldn’t it make sense from that foundation to increase bias than try to overcome it? And Does Ms. McNutt see herself falling into the current trendy bias for diversity? Isn’t the business of science to find out the truth about nature, not worry about the trendy keywords “diversity” and “inclusion”?

    Another glimpse at scientific bias is seen in Chris Woolston’s piece in Nature where he shows that scientists, many of whom pride themselves on their critical thinking, get emotional when caught failing to be skeptical of their own skepticism. This was occasioned by an editorial in which science writer John Horgan accused skeptics of only picking soft targets. That stung, leading to counter-tweets by scientists. But even PZ Myers, the arch-enemy of creationism and ID, saw some light. “What Horgan did was point out that there are a lot of things to be skeptical about, and skeptics have a peculiar fondness for picking the easiest targets.” That’s bias. But which scientists would be willing to doubt their own skepticism itself?

    McNutt assures her members that the AAAS is working hard to overcome bias and to address the crises in peer review and reproducibility. Medical Xpress is looking at the contexts that lead to reproducibility failures. Considering the levels of failure so far, what confidence can the public have in academia’s ability to police themselves?

    If Big Science really believed in diversity, they would hire more conservatives. There’s no diversity in ideology in the AAAS, at Nature and in many universities. That’s a situation ripe for corruption and for intellectual blindness.

    – See more at:

    Bias! We all have it!

    WOW! Progress!
    It’s about time they realize this!

    Creationists have been pointing this out for years!

Leave a Reply