Independent centre should be empowered to follow up high-profile findings and promote good practice, says Social Market Foundation report
An independent institute focused on improving the replicability of UK scientific research should be created as part of an overhaul of science structures and funding, a thinktank has recommended.
We suspect that similar conclusions and recommendations could be found for many other countries, including Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand. What is needed globally is not just funding and peer review for research, we need systems to underpin reproductivity and the investigation of alleged research misconduct.
The lack of replicability may reflect growing pressure on researchers to publish “only positive results”, which has led to dubious methods being used to obtain eye-catching discoveries, says the report, published on 31 July.
“Because only positive results create the hype and the prestige required for academiccareer progression, researchers typically don’t publish null (negative) results, creatingpublication bias,” explains the report’s author Will Henshall, a researcher at the HarvardKennedy School.