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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

We need more research on causes and consequences, as well as on solutions (Papers: Daniele Fanelli | 2015)

 


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ARE BIAS AND MISCONDUCT GROWING?

There is no direct evidence that the reproducibility of published findings has actually declined, or that bias and misconduct have increased in frequency. The recent rise in retractions, typically invoked as evidence of an epidemic of fraud, is instead accounted for entirely by the increasing number of journals who implement policies to retract papers, and therefore should be interpreted as a positive sign [1].

The most reliable evidence of a growing problem comes from two independent studies [2, 3] that measured the prevalence of reported ‘positive’ or statistically significant results in electronic databases, using different proxies. Both these studies show that positive-outcome bias, at least in scientific abstracts, has grown in most disciplines and countries. It is still unclear, however, if and to what extent this growth in literature biases reflects a growth in actual significance chasing, selection or manipulation of data. The rate at which scientists admit to having committed various forms of misconduct, for example, has declined, not increased, over the years [4]

Keywords
Bias, meta-science, misconduct, peer-review, reporting, retraction

Fanelli D (2015) We need more research on causes and consequences, as well as on solutions. Addiction 110(1) pp11-13
Publisher: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/add.12772/full

 



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