Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Wrong or Right?

John Ioannidis from the University of Ioannina in Greece has been arguing for a few years that much of modern biomedical research is wrong — he wrote a PLOS Medicine essay in 2005 with the not-so-subtle title of "Why Most Published Research Findings Are False." In it, he said that research projects are hampered by biases and often wind up testing false hypotheses. But as the Physics arXiv Blog writes, that 'much' may be closer to 14 percent.

Leah Jager from the United States Naval Academy and Jeffrey Leek at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health examined the p-values reported by 77,430 papers published in medical journals and developed a mathematical model to estimate false positives, the arXiv Blog writes.

"We estimate that the overall rate of false positives among reported results is 14% (s.d. 1%), contrary to previous claims," Jager and Leek write, adding that their "analysis suggests that the medical literature remains a reliable record of scientific progress."

But as the arXiv Blog points out, this "is unlikely to settle the debate." What if this study falls into the 14 percent?

The Scan

Cancer Survival Linked to Mutational Burden in Pan-Cancer Analysis

A pan-cancer paper appearing in JCO Precision Oncology suggests tumor mutation patterns provide clues for predicting cancer survival that are independent of other prognostic factors.

Australian Survey Points to Public Support for Genetic Risk Disclosure in Relatives of At-Risk Individuals

A survey in the European Journal of Human Genetics suggests most adult Australians are in favor of finding out if a relative tests positive for a medically actionable genetic variant.

Study Links Evolution of Stony Coral Skeleton to Bicarbonate Transporter Gene

A PNAS paper focuses on a skeleton-related bicarbonate transporter gene introduced to stony coral ancestors by tandem duplication.

Hormone-Based Gene Therapy to Sterilize Domestic Cat

A new paper in Nature Communication suggests that gene therapy could be a safer alternative to spaying domestic cats.