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The Statistical Puzzle Over How Much Biomedical Research is Wrong

Wed, 01/23/2013 - 12:02am
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

The claim that most biomedical research is wrong is being challenged by a new result suggesting that the real number is just 14%.

One of the most controversial ideas in modern science is that most biomedical research is wrong. The argument was first put forward by John Ioannidis at the University of Ioannina in Greece in 2005.

He argues that most biomedical studies have a low chance of success even before they begin. That’s because of the way they are conceived and designed, with factors such as small sample sizes, various biases and so on, all playing a part. So researchers end up testing far more false hypotheses than true ones, he says.

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