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Reproducibility problem making science extinct?

What’s hot? What’s not?/Niklas Bildhauer, Wikimedia

From Deborah Berry at The Conversation:

In 2012, the biopharmaceutical company Amgen reported that it had been unable to reproduce 47 of 53 “landmark” cancer papers. For confidentiality reasons, however, the company did not release which papers it could not replicate and thus did not provide details about how it repeated the experiments. As with the psychology studies, this leaves the possibility that Amgen got different results because the experiments were not performed the same way as the original study. It opens the door to doubt about which result – the first or the repeat test – was correct.

Several initiatives are addressing this problem in multiple disciplines. Science Exchange; the Center for Open Science, a group dedicated to “openness, integrity and reproducibility of scientific research”; and F1000Research, a team focused on immediate and transparent publishing have all introduced initiatives along this line.

Science Exchange and the Center for Open Science have launched a specific effort in this direction regarding cancer research. Their effort, the Reproducibility Project: Cancer Biology, has received US$1.3 million from the Arnold Foundation to repeat selected experiments from a number of high-profile cancer biology papers. The project will publish comprehensive details of how scientists attempted to reproduce each study, and will report results whether they confirm, contradict or change the findings of the study being repeated. More.

A theory long discarded by those who think that science can advance without evidence is: If you want trust, be trustworthy.

Really, science is only having the same sorts of problems as business organizations do when it’s unclear why one should trust them.

See also: Replication crisis: Neuroskeptic on foxes guarding the henhouse

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