Research by (Not About) Liars

“We received input from 23 scientists (heads of laboratories) and collected data from 67 projects, most of them (47) from the field of oncology. This analysis revealed that only in ~20–25% of the projects were the relevant published data completely in line with our in-house findings. In almost two-thirds of the projects, there were inconsistencies between published data and in-house data that either considerably prolonged the duration of the target validation process or, in most cases, resulted in termination of the projects…”

Of course, just from occasional relative incompetence on the part of pharma lab scientists I’d expect only a ~70% reproduction rate. And given the rate of attempted vs. accepted publications, and the bias toward publishing positive results, reduce that by another 70% (and this can be eliminated by waiting for multiple confirming studies), and you have about a 50% expected reproduction rate. This leads me to believe that (very rough estimate) half of published medical research is fraudulent.

So, the U.S. government is probably funding faux “research”, wasting perhaps 50%. But the overall good done may be worth it (since it’s nearly impossible to identify the honest vs. oversold research CVs and proposals). Perhaps if failed reproductions were made public, there could be eventual repercussions - funders could use that track record to reward the researchers with the greatest amount of influential, validated output (as opposed to merely published).