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Positive bias could erode public trust in science

ananyo (2519492) writes | more than 2 years ago

Science 0

ananyo (2519492) writes "Evidence is mounting that research is riddled with positive bias and, left unchecked, the problem could erode public trust, argues Dan Sarewitz, a science policy expert, in a comment piece in Nature this week. The piece cites a number of findings including a 2005 paper by John Ioannidis that was one of the first to bring the problem to light ('Why Most Published Research Findings Are False'). More recently, researchers at Amgen were able to confirm the results of only six of 53 'landmark studies' in preclinical cancer research (abstract only but interesting comments). While the problem has been most evident in biomedical research, Sarewitz argues that systematic error is now prevalent in "any field that seeks to predict the behaviour of complex systems — economics, ecology, environmental science, epidemiology and so on."
"Nothing will corrode public trust more than a creeping awareness that scientists are unable to live up to the standards that they have set for themselves," he adds.
So do slashdot readers perceive positive bias to be a problem? And if so, what practical steps can be taken to put things right?"

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