The Media and I: Truth In Science

By Henry I. Miller, MS, MD — Mar 21, 2024
My recent chat with John Batchelor broached the important subject of flawed, non-reproducible scientific studies that find their way into journals. It seems that replicating results is as rare as finding a unicorn at a science fair.
Image by Michi S from Pixabay

My discussion with John Batchelor on CBS Eye on the World delved into the concerning decline of confidence in scientific research. We explored various aspects of this issue, including the alarming statistic that 90% of scientists believe there are problems with replicating results in the hard sciences.

Throughout the conversation, I emphasized the importance of reproducibility in scientific experiments and highlighted the various challenges researchers face in achieving it. From discrepancies in materials to carelessness or outright fraud, there are many obstacles to replicating experiments.

We also touched upon the limitations of peer review in ensuring the validity of research findings, focusing on the phenomenon of "p-hacking" and the bias towards positive results in publishing. These factors and the prevalence of fraudulent studies produced by "paper mills" contribute to a lack of confidence in the scientific literature. The result is that if a significant fraction of scientific articles are unreliable,  we don't know what we know.

We also discussed potential remedies, including increased scrutiny from universities and funding agencies and greater accountability within the scientific community. Addressing these issues is crucial to restoring trust in scientific research and upholding its integrity despite growing skepticism.


You can hear the entire conversation here. Part 1  Part II

Looking for more of a deeper dive? Here are the original articles by Dr. Miller and Dr. Stan Young

The Validity Of Much Published Scientific Research Is Questionable (Part 1)

The Validity Of Much Of Published Scientific Research Is Questionable (Part 2)

And some new thoughts on the topic

Scientific Fraud In The Age Of AI

Henry I. Miller, MS, MD

Henry I. Miller, MS, MD, is the Glenn Swogger Distinguished Fellow at the American Council on Science and Health. His research focuses on public policy toward science, technology, and medicine, encompassing a number of areas, including pharmaceutical development, genetic engineering, models for regulatory reform, precision medicine, and the emergence of new viral diseases. Dr. Miller served for fifteen years at the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in a number of posts, including as the founding director of the Office of Biotechnology.

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