Mar 23, 2014 10:44 PM GMT
Among Stanford University's palm trees and sandstone arches—the picture of ivory-tower—there's going to be a center dedicated to chipping away that ivory, The Economist reports. The university plans to open a Meta-Research Innovation Center: a center for the study of bad science.
The center will take aim at biomedical studies that are poorly designed, are redundant, weren't published because they report negative results, and/or independent scientists can't reproduce. The idea is that an enormous number of published studies showing that Drug X cures Disease Y, or that Gene A is related to Condition B, are actually incorrect. Drug X doesn't cure Disease Y, or isn't really better at curing Disease Y than Drug Z, which has been around forever. Nevertheless, because of poor statistical analysis or other problems, scientific journals publish these untrue studies. Doctors then read those studies and use them to help decide how to treat their patients.