Journal to combat ‘credibility crisis’ in biomedicine

Plos Biology launches new section looking at how experiments are run and incentive systems for scientists

January 8, 2016

A prominent journal has launched a new section devoted to analysing the quality of scientific research in response to what it called a “credibility crisis” in biomedicine.

Plos Biology says its new “meta-research” section will welcome articles that look at the “design, methods, reporting, verification, and evaluation of research”.

“It will also encompass research into the systems that evaluate and reward individual scientists and institutions,” the journal said in an editorial earlier this week.

The failure to reproduce results was a “significant problem” across biomedicine, the editorial argued.

It cited studies that claimed that more than half of preclinical research cannot be replicated, and that 85 per cent of research investment in biomedical sciences is wasted.

As a result, new drug discovery has slowed and successes found in animal experiments were “rarely” replicated in clinical trials, it said.

“There is an urgent need to address this credibility crisis and improve the standards of research practices,” it said.

The new meta-research section of the journal has been launched with two new studies.

The first found that in a random sample of biomedical articles since 2000, “the majority of studies did not share raw data, did not provide full protocols, overwhelmingly reported novel findings rather than replications, and did not mention anything about funding or conflicts of interest”.

“Disappointingly, there was little improvement over time, except for the reporting of conflicts of interest,” the editorial said.

A second study looked at the impact of removing “outlying” animals from trials, and found that it “dramatically increases the probability of false positives”. An analysis of 100 papers on cancer and strokes indicated that the majority of papers failed to properly report the loss of animals from experiments. 

david.matthews@tesglobal.com

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Assistant Recruitment - Human Resources Office

University Of Nottingham Ningbo China

Outreach Officer

Gsm London

Professorship in Geomatics

Norwegian University Of Science & Technology -ntnu

Professor of European History

Newcastle University

Head of Department

University Of Chichester
See all jobs

Most Commented

men in office with feet on desk. Vintage

Three-quarters of respondents are dissatisfied with the people running their institutions

A face made of numbers looks over a university campus

From personalising tuition to performance management, the use of data is increasingly driving how institutions operate

students use laptops

Researchers say students who use computers score half a grade lower than those who write notes

Canal houses, Amsterdam, Netherlands

All three of England’s for-profit universities owned in Netherlands

As the country succeeds in attracting even more students from overseas, a mixture of demographics, ‘soft power’ concerns and local politics help explain its policy