Flawed, irreproducible biological research cost in the US estimated to be $28. Low research standards leading to sloppy research or just outright fraud?From Nature, Irreproducible biology research costs put at $28 billion per year
Scientists in the United States spend $28 billion each year on basic biomedical research that cannot be repeated successfully. That is the conclusion of a study published on 9 June in PLoS Biology1 that attempts to quantify the causes, and costs, of irreproducibility.
John Ioannidis, an epidemiologist at Stanford University in California who studies scientific robustness, says that the analysis is sure to prompt discussion about the problem — but should be taken with a pinch of salt, given that its estimates carry great uncertainty.
But Len Freedman, the study’s lead author and head of the non-profit Global Biological Standards Institute in Washington DC, says that the work is of value, even though it cannot pin down the size of the problem. “Clearly, there are tremendous inefficiences [in research], and this is putting a spotlight on that,” says Freedman, whose group seeks to develop best practices for biological experiments.
Inefficiences? The problems stem from Overall, the team found that poor materials made the largest contribution to reproducibility problems, at 36%, followed by study design at 28% and data analysis at 26%. The team estimates the overall rate of irreproducibility at 53%, but cautions that the true rate could be anywhere between 18% and 89%. That puts the potential economic cost of irreproducibility anywhere from $10 billion to $50 billion per year.
It sounds more like sloppy research, funded without any checks and balances.
Would Nature conduct the same investigation in climate science?