NIH chimes in on reproduciblility crisis

Now we’re getting somewhere? The NIH has chimed in on the reproducibility crisis in Nature (10.1038/505612a). It frankly acknowledges the problem and lists some of the potential causes (pressure to publish, funding, etc.). However, in some important ways, the commentary falls flat. The NIH’s actions will be: better training in statistics, piloting having a reviewer critique the scientific premise of grant applications, and a big data repository.  Ho hum.   Scientists already know enough about p values to hack them.  The grant proposal can be wonderfully sound–it’s the quality of the product produced after the award that’s at issue.  And big data repositories for positive and negative findings…. not that bold or effective.  The overall lack of oomph from this commentary is telegraphed by the claim that the problems are mainly with animal pre-clinical work, since clinical trials has really cleaned up its act (ha!).  Well, I guess we’ll see if they have anything more visionary to say at SFN this year.  Fingers crossed.

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