Why Most Published Research Findings Are False

Last week in Lab Notes we were told that we shouldn’t believe what we read in scientific journals and to take headline-grabbing articles with a grain of salt. Not because they’re intrinsically false, but because if they aren’t, it’s only a matter of time before they’re replicated and corroborated.

Lesson: if a finding is important, it will be replicated. Until it is, don’t believe it. How long might you have to wait? “The delay between the reporting of an initial positive study and subsequent publication of concurrently performed but negative results is measured in years.”

More wisdom from the comments:”Why are we surprised? When science bumps up against profits, guess which one reigns?” Sad but true.

via Seed

Update: Also via Seed, The Economist picks up on the research and uses the economic theory of the winner’s curse as an analogy.