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Monday, April 2, 2012

Very disturbing

Many activities are based upon trust. While medical research is not an activity that is commonly viewed as requiring trust, there is a faith and trust component.
During a decade as head of global cancer research at Amgen, C. Glenn Begley identified 53 "landmark" publications -- papers in top journals, from reputable labs -- for his team to reproduce. Begley sought to double-check the findings before trying to build on them for drug development.Result: 47 of the 53 could not be replicated. He described his findings in a commentary piece published on Wednesday in the journal Nature.
None of the non-reproducible studies identified. This represents a systems problem. It is non-rewarding at best and difficult to reproduce and publish what someone has already done. The incentives are to publish what appears to be novel and whether you are correct or not does not appear to be a particularly crucial aspect. I would be intrigued to whether there is any relationship between numbers of citations and the ability to replicate findings.

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