Who researches the researchers?

John Ioannidis does, that’s who. His 2005 paper “Why most published research findings are false” created quite a stir in academia, and now Dr Ioannidis is at it again with a new large-scale research project, the Meta-Research Innovation Center, at Stanford University. According to this report dated 15 March 2014 in The Economist,

METRICS, as the new laboratory is to be known for short, will connect enthusiasts of the nascent field in such corners of academia as medicine, statistics and epidemiology, with the aim of solidifying the young discipline. Dr Ioannidis and the lab’s co-founder, Steven Goodman, will organise conferences at which acolytes can meet in the world of atoms, rather than just online. They will create a “journal watch” to monitor scientific publishers’ work and to shame laggards into better behaviour. And they will spread the message to policymakers, governments and other interested parties, in an effort to stop them making decisions on the basis of flaky studies.

Sounds good. But what if most published research about published research is also false?


Also, what about a “journal watch” for work in economics and psychology, two fields rife with notoriously unreliable research findings? In any case, double hat tips to Professors Tyler Cowen and Alex Tabarrok for the initial pointer and for the diagram.

About F. E. Guerra-Pujol

When I’m not blogging, I am a business law professor at the University of Central Florida.
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