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A new institute will launch late this month at Stanford. The Meta-Research Innovation Centre (METRICS) aims to monitor scientific publishers’ work by identifying and minimizing persistent threats to biomedical/scientific research quality.
Beginning with a paper published in 2005 by John Ioannidis, Why Most Published Research Findings are False, a new discipline called meta-research (research about research) developed. The study exposed the ways — most notably the overinterpreting of statistical significance in studies with small sample sizes — that scientific findings can end up being irreproducible.
Irreproducibility is a constant threat in science and several fields have been focusing on validating experimental results. However, no one has tried to identify whether the attempts at revalidation have actually had any impact on the credibility of research.
METRICS will endeavor to do just that. The Center will also make recommendations about how future work might be improved and better coordinated. Moreover, the organization will lobby policymakers and governments in an effort to stop them from making decisions on the basis of poor research results.