Culture change in biomedicine
Biomedical studies have often proven to be methodologically unreliable, casting doubt on their results. Many scientists therefore see the subject in a crisis. A rethink is necessary - and has already started.
Are most published research findings wrong, as the well-known epidemiologist John Ioannidis wrote in the journal "PLOS Medicine" in 2005? Why do researchers so often announce breakthroughs in the treatment of important diseases that are later forgotten? Where are the promised cures through stem cell therapies, nanoparticles or molecular genetic "designer drugs"?
Indeed, there is growing evidence that biomedical research has a problem. It started about ten years ago with complaints from the pharmaceutical industry: many of the results of university research that have appeared in renowned journals cannot be reproduced in your own studies, i.e. confirmed. And Ioannidis' article on the lack of accuracy in published work has been one of the most cited in biomedicine for years. To date, the epidemiologist's arguments have not been seriously refuted. On the contrary: The world's most respected and oldest medical journal, "The Lancet", expressed the opinion in 2014 that probably 85 percent of biomedical research is rubbish.
Several systematic studies over the past few years have shown that the robustness and reliability of biomedical research results is not the best. This is now clearly unsettling scientists. In a survey of almost 1,600 researchers by the journal "Nature" in 2016, more than every second person stated that they had the test results of colleagues - and even their own results! – not being able to reproduce in subsequent experiments. A number of scientists currently see biomedical research in a reproducibility crisis …