The problems with scientific research related to drugs and other technology fields are cropping up more often with retractions on the rise and lack of follow up due to poor research standards. Part of the problem is likely due to high level of private funding in these areas where quality and follow up are not priorities. The focus is profit and getting the goods to the market


Science Research Needs an Overhaul

Earlier this year a series of papers in The Lancet reported that 85 percent of the $265 billion spent each year on medical research is wasted. This is not because of fraud, although it is true that retractions are on the rise. Instead, it is because too often absolutely nothing happens after initial results of a study are published. No follow-up investigations ensue to replicate or expand on a discovery. No one uses the findings to build new technologies.

The problem is not just what happens after publication—scientists often have trouble choosing the right questions and properly designing studies to answer them. Too many neuroscience studies test too few subjects to arrive at firm conclusions. Researchers publish reports on hundreds of treatments for diseases that work in animal models but not in humans. Drug companies find themselves unable to reproduce promising drug targets published by the best academic institutions. The growing recognition that something has gone awry in the laboratory has led to calls for, as one might guess, more research on research (aka, meta-research)—attempts to find protocols that ensure that peer-reviewed studies are, in fact, valid.

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