Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice, shame on scientific research? Research studies investigating other research studies – yes, it’s very meta – have diagnosed a “reproducibility” crisis in biomedicine. Simply put, it’s shockingly difficult to reproduce the results of many laboratory research studies relied upon as authoritative and definitive.
As a result, the reliability of a large share of the research published about medicine and the biology of medicine is in question. The reasons vary from poor training of young scientists engaged in ever more complex and esoteric inquiries to perverse incentives that reward researchers for flashy findings but don’t penalize them for being wrong. Some errors are inevitable—in fact, it’s a part of science. But today’s reproducibility crisis is challenging the very idea that scientific knowledge expands by research studies that build upon each other. Is a transformation of the underlying culture of biomedical research necessary? How difficult will it be to accomplish?
Reliable studies show you should join Future Tense on Thursday, April 21, in Washington, DC, to explore this crisis in biomedicine.