Saturday, September 15, 2007

One more reason to be skeptical about information published in journals

I really need to be preparing for my job interview on Monday (everyone wish me good luck and pray that Northwest Airlines manages not to make a hash of my flights!), but this story is so fascinating that I had to blog it right away.

Dr. John Ioannidis, an epidemiologist, has compiled evidence indicating that the results of the majority of published studies in the sciences are incorrect. He has also analyzed some of the reasons for this, stemming from the incentive structures of publishing and academia. Ioannidis doesn't seem to use the term confirmation bias—one of my hobbyhorses areas of research interest—but I think he'd agree that confirmation bias probably plays a pretty big role here too.

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