Medical, psychiatric, psychology and other scientific studies that simply replicate research, find null results, or get results showing no effects from treatments are far less likely to be published, and a New York Times op-ed looks at a few burgeoning solutions to these problems. Meanwhile, in an interview in Mètode, medical Nobel Prize-winner Randy Schekman discusses how the situation is distorting our collective understanding.
“(M)y colleagues and I propose a radically different publishing model,” writes Brendan Nyhan in the New York Times. “Ask journal editors and scientific peers to review study designs and analysis plans and commit to publish the results if the study is conducted and reported in a professional manner.”
Meanwhile, in Mètode, Shekman comments on various topics.
Shekman on the journals Nature, Cell and Science: “Yeah, they have a very effective business plan, I would say. They prey on people’s vanity.”
Shekman on news media and science: “In order to get their papers published in Nature or Science, they exaggerate the importance of their work, absolutely. Investigators are under pressure to get their work funded and so they think that if they have more publicity for their work, even in the newspapers, that will help them with funding, or help them with recognition, fame and glory. I mean, why should scientists be any different than other people?… But increasingly, unfortunately, these newspapers have fired, gotten rid of their science journalists. So now many newspapers are dependent on the press releases issued by the journals to describe their work, and that may be good for the journals, but I don’t think it’s good for the general public.”
Shekman on the lack of reproducibility of important studies: “We have a problem… But I think it is unknown what fraction of the literature is wrong…”
To Get More Out of Science, Show the Rejected Research (New York Times, September 18, 2014)
Randy Schekman (Mètode, Summer 2014)