Corante

About this Author
DBL%20Hendrix%20small.png College chemistry, 1983

Derek Lowe The 2002 Model

Dbl%20new%20portrait%20B%26W.png After 10 years of blogging. . .

Derek Lowe, an Arkansan by birth, got his BA from Hendrix College and his PhD in organic chemistry from Duke before spending time in Germany on a Humboldt Fellowship on his post-doc. He's worked for several major pharmaceutical companies since 1989 on drug discovery projects against schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, diabetes, osteoporosis and other diseases. To contact Derek email him directly: derekb.lowe@gmail.com Twitter: Dereklowe

Chemistry and Drug Data: Drugbank
Emolecules
ChemSpider
Chempedia Lab
Synthetic Pages
Organic Chemistry Portal
PubChem
Not Voodoo
DailyMed
Druglib
Clinicaltrials.gov

Chemistry and Pharma Blogs:
Org Prep Daily
The Haystack
Kilomentor
A New Merck, Reviewed
Liberal Arts Chemistry
Electron Pusher
All Things Metathesis
C&E News Blogs
Chemiotics II
Chemical Space
Noel O'Blog
In Vivo Blog
Terra Sigilatta
BBSRC/Douglas Kell
ChemBark
Realizations in Biostatistics
Chemjobber
Pharmalot
ChemSpider Blog
Pharmagossip
Med-Chemist
Organic Chem - Education & Industry
Pharma Strategy Blog
No Name No Slogan
Practical Fragments
SimBioSys
The Curious Wavefunction
Natural Product Man
Fragment Literature
Chemistry World Blog
Synthetic Nature
Chemistry Blog
Synthesizing Ideas
Business|Bytes|Genes|Molecules
Eye on FDA
Chemical Forums
Depth-First
Symyx Blog
Sceptical Chymist
Lamentations on Chemistry
Computational Organic Chemistry
Mining Drugs
Henry Rzepa


Science Blogs and News:
Bad Science
The Loom
Uncertain Principles
Fierce Biotech
Blogs for Industry
Omics! Omics!
Young Female Scientist
Notional Slurry
Nobel Intent
SciTech Daily
Science Blog
FuturePundit
Aetiology
Gene Expression (I)
Gene Expression (II)
Sciencebase
Pharyngula
Adventures in Ethics and Science
Transterrestrial Musings
Slashdot Science
Cosmic Variance
Biology News Net


Medical Blogs
DB's Medical Rants
Science-Based Medicine
GruntDoc
Respectful Insolence
Diabetes Mine


Economics and Business
Marginal Revolution
The Volokh Conspiracy
Knowledge Problem


Politics / Current Events
Virginia Postrel
Instapundit
Belmont Club
Mickey Kaus


Belles Lettres
Uncouth Reflections
Arts and Letters Daily
In the Pipeline: Don't miss Derek Lowe's excellent commentary on drug discovery and the pharma industry in general at In the Pipeline

In the Pipeline

« The Genetics of Bipolar Disorder: What A Tangle | Main | Predicting What Group to Put On Next »

March 14, 2014

Going After Poor Published Research

Email This Entry

Posted by Derek

This should be interesting - John Ioannidis, scourge of poorly reproducible published results, is founding an institute at Stanford. The Economist has more:

They will create a “journal watch” to monitor scientific publishers’ work and to shame laggards into better behaviour. And they will spread the message to policymakers, governments and other interested parties, in an effort to stop them making decisions on the basis of flaky studies. All this in the name of the centre’s nerdishly valiant mission statement: “Identifying and minimising persistent threats to medical-research quality.”

It will be most interesting to see what comes of this. Better quality research is in everyone's best interest, to put it mildly, and I hope that this leads to some.

Comments (13) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: The Scientific Literature


COMMENTS

1. anonymous coward on March 14, 2014 10:22 AM writes...

Except people that publish bad studies to further their careers (because crappy, barely-checked studies are much easier to do than good ones), or universities that collect overhead on grants from those professors, or journals filled to the gills with such research, or dishonest policy wonks who are willing to use whatever research suits their interest to further their interests. They can all be trumped by the people who actually fund the research, but they are capable of making a blizzard of their own. I hope it works, though.

Permalink to Comment

2. watcher on March 14, 2014 10:27 AM writes...

Wow. I'm sure there will be a lot of grant money for this.....NOT.

Permalink to Comment

3. Mike on March 14, 2014 11:08 AM writes...

Improving the efficacy of publish reports is important, and will continue to be more vital as research becomes more niche and complex over time.
The problem with people like John Ioannidis is they have the poor judgement to publish papers titled "Why Most Published Research Findings Are False." Things like this will be grabbed by the popular press (e.g.
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/21/science/new-truths-that-only-one-can-see.html )
to discredit the scientific method and scientists in general. Global warming deniers, anti-vaccine groups, politicians and the like grab on to these things and cause a grave amount of harm. I only hope this new effort will go forth with more care and thought of its repercussions.

Permalink to Comment

4. DV Henkel-Wallace on March 14, 2014 12:52 PM writes...

Derek, I believe you speak German: Researchgate is claiming that their system was instrumental in overturning the recent Riken institute stem cell work: http://www.gruenderszene.de/allgemein/researchgate-forschung-open-review

The most audacious claim is "Peer Review ist ein veraltetes Modell" -- "peer review is outdated". At first I took this as simple hype, but if we realize that a lot of the "contribution" to scientific debate, particularly in the mainstream press, consists of press releases and opinion-become-fact, maybe worrying about peer review is the wrong place to spend time on.

(and never forget that "contribution" has both a magnitude AND a sign!)

Permalink to Comment

5. gippgig on March 14, 2014 2:12 PM writes...

Today's Washington Post newspaper has an item on The Fed Page (A16) about the head of the Office of Research Integrity quitting in disgust at how "profoundly dysfunctional" the federal bureaucracy was.

Permalink to Comment

6. dearieme on March 14, 2014 2:32 PM writes...

Oh no! Medical denialists!

Permalink to Comment

7. Anonymous on March 15, 2014 12:17 PM writes...

nobody expects the spanish inquisition!

Permalink to Comment

8. gippgig on March 17, 2014 3:25 AM writes...

Off topic, but this may be of interest:
www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/with-protections-set-to-lapse-on-advanced-drugs-us-presses-strict-rules-overseas/2014/03/13/68b24258-83af-11e3-8099-9181471f7aaf_story.html

Permalink to Comment

9. gippgig on March 17, 2014 3:27 AM writes...

Off topic, but this may be of interest:
www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/with-protections-set-to-lapse-on-advanced-drugs-us-presses-strict-rules-overseas/2014/03/13/68b24258-83af-11e3-8099-9181471f7aaf_story.html

Permalink to Comment

10. Screener on March 17, 2014 8:14 AM writes...

Interesting in light of OSHA's recent request for disclousre of funding sources for those commenting on new rules regulating occupational dust exposures (http://www.nature.com/news/dust-regulations-trigger-backlash-1.14806). Sounds like this initiative might also be able to encourage greater transparency.

Permalink to Comment

11. DCRogers on March 17, 2014 5:02 PM writes...

"And they will spread the message to policymakers, governments and other interested parties, in an effort to stop them making decisions on the basis of flaky studies"

Sounds optimistic, since the decision is typically made first, then the literature scoured for supporting studies, however flaky.

Permalink to Comment

12. Neo on March 20, 2014 6:38 AM writes...

Selection of results to fit a hypothesis is unfortunately widespread among prestigious laboratories. This is the main reason for the unreproducibility of studies. Will they really go after the big names and the fancy journals that give them a free pass for years? I doubt it. And even if they did, I can see big-shoot-scientist X blaming the PhD/postdoc that carry out the experiments. As if they didn't know...

Permalink to Comment

13. Chemiae on March 20, 2014 10:57 PM writes...

Mike, dearieme - I'd like to try to open your eyes. Ioannidis' methods are irreproachable, and his is a voice for GOOD science. He is an epidemiologist, that most quantitatively demanding & rigorously scientific species of MD. His 2005 'Why Most Published Research Findings Are False' generated essentially NO press, and he only resorted to an incendiary title after years of un-provacitive ones generated no interest at all, public or otherwise. An excellent article (urge EVERYONE to read it - Derek's devotees, a top slice of the curious, especially need to know about Ioannidis' pioneering studies, whether you start from doubting his soundness or just like testing your personal cognitive dissonance) appeared in the Atlantic Monthly in 2010 but remains spot-on relevant: www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2010/11/lies-damned-lies-and-medical-science/8269/. Ioannidis' work did get a dribble of press in 2011 when he got 'branded,' i.e. he moved from a Greek medical school to Stanford's. Ioannidis' new institute at Stanford is just a start. It will be vastly difficult to change the minds of a lazy public that really only wants better pills. A public that demands greater scientific accountability is, sadly, beyond imagining. And meanwhile pharma will use its awesome resources to fight back. As it is now, MDs are pharma's hostages, politicians' loyally bark in tune with pharma's PACs, and many med school luminaries who 'author' clinical studies pocket >$1million/year. BTW, only The Economist (and, via it, our estimable Corante) have picked up on Stanford's news release at the time of this writing. The response has been underwhelming.

Permalink to Comment

POST A COMMENT




Remember Me?



EMAIL THIS ENTRY TO A FRIEND

Email this entry to:

Your email address:

Message (optional):




RELATED ENTRIES
The Worst Seminar
Conference in Basel
Messed-Up Clinical Studies: A First-Hand Report
Pharma and Ebola
Lilly Steps In for AstraZeneca's Secretase Inhibitor
Update on Alnylam (And the Direction of Things to Come)
There Must Have Been Multiple Chances to Catch This
Weirdly, Tramadol Is Not a Natural Product After All