Vox explores the increasing difficulty of getting scientific studies to be done scientifically, and how much that costs society. Is one solution for all of us to be more vigorously cognizant that science is mistake prone?
“From study design to dissemination of research, there are dozens of ways science can go off the rails,” reports Vox. “Many of the scientific studies that are published each year are poorly designed, redundant, or simply useless. Researchers looking into the problem have found that more than half of studies fail to take steps to reduce biases, such as blinding whether people receive treatment or placebo. In an analysis of 300 clinical research papers about epilepsy — published in 1981, 1991, and 2001 — 71 percent were categorized as having no enduring value. Of those, 55.6 percent were classified as inherently unimportant and 38.8 percent as not new. All told, according to one estimate, about $200 billion — or the equivalent of 85 percent of global spending on research — is routinely wasted on flawed and redundant studies.”
Science is often flawed. It’s time we embraced that. (Vox, May 13, 2015)