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(Yahoo)   Researcher finds that he's unable to verify 47 of 53 of major cancer studies. Still no cure for...wait a minute   (news.yahoo.com) divider line 196
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14933 clicks; posted to Main » on 05 Apr 2012 at 1:26 PM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-04-05 10:36:50 AM
On Tuesday, a committee of the National Academy of Sciences heard testimony that the number of scientific papers that had to be retracted increased more than tenfold over the last decade; the number of journal articles published rose only 44 percent.

Ferric Fang of the University of Washington, speaking to the panel, said he blamed a hypercompetitive academic environment that fosters poor science and even fraud, as too many researchers compete for diminishing funding.


Yup, sounds about right.
 
2012-04-05 11:06:27 AM
FTA: Ferric Fang of the University of Washington, speaking to the panel, said he blamed a hypercompetitive academic environment that fosters poor science and even fraud, as too many researchers compete for diminishing funding.

B-b-b-but right-wing, libertarian asshole farkwits have told me for years that competition is a good thing!
 
2012-04-05 12:03:19 PM
Competition for limited funding but big rewards if you produce something was one of the reasons there were so many retractions in ES cell research during the Bush years. Plus, in addition to the fraud it increases cronyism in the NIH study sections as well as with local grants.
 
2012-04-05 01:28:36 PM
page blowed-up already... I can't even verify the article!

/C.o.n... spiracy.
 
2012-04-05 01:29:41 PM
Has he tried asking on Fark? There are lots of cancer experts here.
 
2012-04-05 01:29:56 PM
I wonder how many other areas of science would yield similar results.
 
2012-04-05 01:30:48 PM
This means that smoking is automatically good for you and that Obama has to serve everyone a free porterhouse steak.
 
2012-04-05 01:30:52 PM
Article is farked already.
 
2012-04-05 01:30:56 PM

James F. Campbell: FTA: Ferric Fang of the University of Washington, speaking to the panel, said he blamed a hypercompetitive academic environment that fosters poor science and even fraud, as too many researchers compete for diminishing funding.

B-b-b-but right-wing, libertarian asshole farkwits have told me for years that competition is a good thing!


And blathering liberal farktards like you have assured me that there is no such ting as fraud in the scientific community and we should accept things like Consensus (you know, instead of science) is good enough for things like Global Climate ChangeTM.

/I actually had you favorited as "Blathering Liberal Farktard" from a while back
//Actually sad to see how accurate it is
 
2012-04-05 01:31:19 PM
This is why I will not give money to the American Cancer Society.
What other corporation would be allowed to exist if it failed in its' goals for 50 years straight?
 
2012-04-05 01:32:13 PM
So the moral of the story is, "Don't get cancer."
 
2012-04-05 01:32:39 PM
For what it's worth, this is science. If the results are to be useful, the results and experiments need to be repeatable and repeated. If other investigators cannot replicate the results of a previous experiment, then the results may not be "universal". Note that just because the results of a previous experiment cannot be replicated doesn't mean that there was fraud involved. The results may have been the result of coincidence or a combination of other factors that may result from some sloppy design but not necessarily with nefarious intent.
 
2012-04-05 01:32:57 PM

doubled99: This is why I will not give money to the American Cancer Society.
What other corporation would be allowed to exist if it failed in its' goals for 50 years straight?


You do know lots of cancers have been completely cured, right? Of course you didn't.
 
2012-04-05 01:34:23 PM

Carousel Beast: And blathering liberal farktards like you have assured me that there is no such ting as fraud in the scientific community


There isn't a single person in the world who would ever say fraud does not exist in the scientific community. Except for perhaps some douchebag who is pretending someone else said that.

Oh, hi there.
 
2012-04-05 01:35:19 PM

Carousel Beast: And blathering liberal farktards like you have assured me that there is no such ting as fraud in the scientific community and we should accept things like Consensus (you know, instead of science) is good enough for things like Global Climate ChangeTM.


Well, maybe you should pray about it then. I hope humanity lives long enough for me to cackle in your face.
 
2012-04-05 01:35:52 PM
Alt source for article.

Link (new window)
 
2012-04-05 01:36:33 PM
Reuters article:
http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/03/28/us-science-cancer-idUSBRE82 R 12P20120328
 
2012-04-05 01:37:19 PM
bah... forgot about the preview window and was beaten to the punch :)

/and html? pfft, do it yourselves :)
 
2012-04-05 01:39:20 PM

Carousel Beast: James F. Campbell: FTA: Ferric Fang of the University of Washington, speaking to the panel, said he blamed a hypercompetitive academic environment that fosters poor science and even fraud, as too many researchers compete for diminishing funding.

B-b-b-but right-wing, libertarian asshole farkwits have told me for years that competition is a good thing!

And blathering liberal farktards like you have assured me that there is no such ting as fraud in the scientific community and we should accept things like Consensus (you know, instead of science) is good enough for things like Global Climate ChangeTM.

/I actually had you favorited as "Blathering Liberal Farktard" from a while back
//Actually sad to see how accurate it is


Yeah, f*ck science and measurements and counting things. Let's just go with our gut feeling, good'ol boy, common sense and leave the elitist "thinking" to libruls and their arugala eating islamo-socialist friends.
 
2012-04-05 01:40:17 PM
The failure to win "the war on cancer" has been blamed on many factors, from the use of mouse models that are irrelevant to human cancers to risk-averse funding agencies. But recently a new culprit has emerged: too many basic scientific discoveries, done in animals or cells growing in lab dishes and meant to show the way to a new drug, are wrong.

Begley's experience echoes a report from scientists at Bayer AG last year. Neither group of researchers alleges fraud, nor would they identify the research they had tried to replicate.

But they and others fear the phenomenon is the product of a skewed system of incentives that has academics cutting corners to further their careers.


Oh, so it doesn't have to be an explicit conspiracy? It can just arise like spontaneous assembly from a system of bad incentives....

Very interesting.
 
2012-04-05 01:40:25 PM
lennavan Smartest
Funniest
2012-04-05 01:32:57 PM


doubled99: This is why I will not give money to the American Cancer Society.
What other corporation would be allowed to exist if it failed in its' goals for 50 years straight?

You do know lots of cancers have been completely cured, right? Of course you didn't.



I know people have recovered from cancerous growths. Does this mean there is a cure for cancer?
 
2012-04-05 01:42:43 PM
The academic reward system discourages efforts to ensure a finding was not a fluke. Nor is there an incentive to verify someone else's discovery. As recently as the late 1990s, most potential cancer-drug targets were backed by 100 to 200 publications. Now each may have fewer than half a dozen.

"If you can write it up and get it published you're not even thinking of reproducibility," said Ken Kaitin, director of the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development. "You make an observation and move on. There is no incentive to find out it was wrong."


You know, farkwad, some of us got into science because we wanted to make a positive impact on the world. Some of us are working our asses off for months on a single experiment to make damn sure it's rigorous, relevant and reproducible.

The incentive to find out if it was wrong is the desire to not be a shiatty scientist who publishes crap that not only did not advance science but indeed held science back because we had to waste the time to figure out it was wrong.

That said, on top of extremely competitive grant funding situation and academic dishonesty, I want to add on two things no one really talks about: an extremely competitive job market for academic science positions and an incredibly long PhD program. After 6 years of hard work, we're asking grad students to keep hammering away and stay rigorous and ensure their shiat is reproducible. You get sick of failure after failure after failure and over time, standards go down because you just want to get the hell out. Same for post-docs, you look back on 12+ years of hard work and realize what's going to get you funding and a job is not hard work or good reproducible science but rather high profile publications.
 
2012-04-05 01:43:02 PM
Doesn't surprise me too much, but then again it does. I'm a Ph.D. student in the process of writing my dissertation, and I'd be pretty hesitant to include an experiment in my thesis that I've found "OMG" results in just one time. All my experiments I'm including have been performed multiple times for statistics sake, and the results have been consistently reproducible. I'm pretty sure my mentor or my committee on studies would call me a farkwit if I tried to include a single experiment in my dissertation that was never reproduced.

On the other hand, getting funding for your research these days is extremely cutthroat. Lots of good science does not get funded, because it doesn't include the "cancer" buzzword. I can see why people would publish novel results immediately, to avoid getting "scooped" by someone else, but more-so to try and get some sway when submitting a new grant.

Academic science is pretty disillusioning. I've come to realize that it is a "Good-ol'-boys club", with a "you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours" attitude. If you want your data published in a high end journal, your results better be Nobel worthy, or you had better have an in with the editor. It's a nightmare that I'm going to want no part of after I graduate. I came to try and cure disease, not to kiss butt.

:(
 
2012-04-05 01:43:44 PM

James F. Campbell: FTA: Ferric Fang of the University of Washington, speaking to the panel, said he blamed a hypercompetitive academic environment that fosters poor science and even fraud, as too many researchers compete for diminishing funding.

B-b-b-but right-wing, libertarian asshole farkwits have told me for years that competition is a good thing!


"Competition" is not the same as "perverse incentive". The scientific/academic publishing environment is rife with perverse incentives. There is more reward for publishing first than for being right. So what do you get? A rush to publish, and piles of shoddy research that are given undue credence by virtue of publication. Perverse incentives produce perverse results.
 
2012-04-05 01:43:58 PM

WxGuy1: . Note that just because the results of a previous experiment cannot be replicated doesn't mean that there was fraud involved. The results may have been the result of coincidence or a combination of other factors that may result from some sloppy design but not necessarily with nefarious intent.


47/53 suggests systematic poor judgement, though.

/ maybe 47/53 investment banks were just unlucky in the last few years. No nefarious intent.

// this replication study needs replicating.
 
2012-04-05 01:44:15 PM

doubled99: lennavan Smartest
Funniest
2012-04-05 01:32:57 PM


doubled99: This is why I will not give money to the American Cancer Society.
What other corporation would be allowed to exist if it failed in its' goals for 50 years straight?

You do know lots of cancers have been completely cured, right? Of course you didn't.


I know people have recovered from cancerous growths. Does this mean there is a cure for cancer?


Pick up a science book from the past two decades. We've realized there is no single "cancer" and therefore there will never be a single cure for cancer.

Your question is just as stupid as asking "is there a cure for viruses?" Some, not all, dipshiat.
 
2012-04-05 01:44:28 PM

doubled99: This is why I will not give money to the American Cancer Society.
What other corporation would be allowed to exist if it failed in its' goals for 50 years straight?


This has got to be one of the easiest trolls I've ever spotted here.
 
2012-04-05 01:44:58 PM
"You were smoking!"
"But, hon, 47/53 cancer studies didn't hold up."
"You were smoking"
 
2012-04-05 01:45:21 PM
My faith based research is just as good as your science based research. Give me money.
 
2012-04-05 01:45:46 PM

Carousel Beast:

And blathering liberal farktards like you have assured me that there is no such ting as fraud in the scientific community and we should accept things like Consensus (you know, instead of science) is good enough for things like Global Climate ChangeTM.

/I actually had you favorited as "Blathering Liberal Farktard" from a while back
//Actually sad to see how accurate it is


Fraud exists everywhere.
This guy was trying to repeat other's experiments, which is good science. Enough people do that and the community can usually reach a consensus that is correct as it stands. By doing the good science, the fraud can usually be spotted.

/Another "Blathering Liberal Farktard"
 
2012-04-05 01:47:47 PM

Cybernetic: "Competition" is not the same as "perverse incentive". The scientific/academic publishing environment is rife with perverse incentives. There is more reward for publishing first than for being right. So what do you get? A rush to publish, and piles of shoddy research that are given undue credence by virtue of publication. Perverse incentives produce perverse results.


I submit to you that there is no difference.

/Also, take it up with the author.
 
2012-04-05 01:48:30 PM

Normal Bean: This guy was trying to repeat other's experiments, which is good science. Enough people do that and the community can usually reach a consensus that is correct as it stands. By doing the good science, the fraud can usually be spotted.


The fraud is always spotted. It is only a matter of when. That's how science works.
 
2012-04-05 01:48:46 PM
This study also echoes the work of Dr. John Ioannidis , a medical researcher now at Stanford. Ioannidis examined the evidence in 45 well-publicized health studies from major journals appearing between 1990 and 2003. His conclusion: the results of more than one third of these studies were flatly contradicted or significantly weakened by later work.

Link (new window)

See also Jonah Lehrer (now at Wired)
The Truth Wears Off (new window)
 
2012-04-05 01:48:57 PM
Golly jeepers, how come America isn't turning out more scientists, what with the great work environment and all those lucrative grants they can be earning?
 
2012-04-05 01:49:01 PM

WxGuy1: For what it's worth, this is science. If the results are to be useful, the results and experiments need to be repeatable and repeated. If other investigators cannot replicate the results of a previous experiment, then the results may not be "universal". Note that just because the results of a previous experiment cannot be replicated doesn't mean that there was fraud involved. The results may have been the result of coincidence or a combination of other factors that may result from some sloppy design but not necessarily with nefarious intent.


The fact that incentives are primarily for publishing, rather than producing something useful is a problem. The system has degenerated into a BS contest. If you ever go about trying to transition R&D work you find this out fast just by reading through the literature. Everyone is focused on some marginally incrementally improvement to unproven designs. There needs to be more collaboration and honesty. Instead there is a lot of pressure to show you're the best which results in a bs contest.
Researchers don't matter, science does.
 
2012-04-05 01:49:56 PM
soupbone Smartest
Funniest
2012-04-05 01:44:28 PM


doubled99: This is why I will not give money to the American Cancer Society.
What other corporation would be allowed to exist if it failed in its' goals for 50 years straight?

This has got to be one of the easiest trolls I've ever spotted here.



apparently not
 
2012-04-05 01:49:57 PM
Why are findings not peer reviewed prior to publication? Wouldn't that help winnow out the chaff on these kinds of false results?

Oh right... "perverse incentives".. got it.
 
2012-04-05 01:50:03 PM

WxGuy1: For what it's worth, this is science. If the results are to be useful, the results and experiments need to be repeatable and repeated. If other investigators cannot replicate the results of a previous experiment, then the results may not be "universal". Note that just because the results of a previous experiment cannot be replicated doesn't mean that there was fraud involved. The results may have been the result of coincidence or a combination of other factors that may result from some sloppy design but not necessarily with nefarious intent.


Another possibility is improper reporting of methodology; considering the mess that a lot of papers call a "methods" section, it wouldn't surprise me if this were the case.

Of course, the example in the article was of an experiment where they reported the results of 1/6 trials. That's bad science right there.

verbal_jizm: Competition for limited funding but big rewards if you produce something was one of the reasons there were so many retractions in ES cell research during the Bush years. Plus, in addition to the fraud it increases cronyism in the NIH study sections as well as with local grants.


As someone working on a lot of grant applications, I feel that pain. This is only going to get worse over the next few years, as I suspect the NIH is going to be tightening its belt significantly.

Here's the Nature editorial about Begley's piece. Unfortunately, Begley's original piece is behind the paywall yet.
 
2012-04-05 01:50:10 PM

soupbone: doubled99: This is why I will not give money to the American Cancer Society.
What other corporation would be allowed to exist if it failed in its' goals for 50 years straight?

This has got to be one of the easiest trolls I've ever spotted here.


You should stop hunting trolls until your humor detector is fixed.
 
2012-04-05 01:50:16 PM
I blame the "Publish or Perish" mindset in academia right now. It really is travesty that when, say a project doesn't reveal exciting results that there is still pressure to find a way to publish them. I'm not saying people lie. They don't. But it's not rigorous science.
 
2012-04-05 01:52:11 PM
"It drives people in industry crazy. Why are we seeing a collapse of the pharma and biotech industries? One possibility is that academia is not providing accurate findings," he said.

While there are definitely problems here, I do like the implied "Waah! (Primarily) Government funded institutions aren't giving us free research we can use to make easy profits from" This problem actually happens even more commonly in industry funded studies, certainly during the early exploratory stages.

A key problem with medical research historically has been that until recently studies weren't registered anywhere before they started, so if someone did research and nothing of note happened (placebo and thing being studied turned out around the same), the study often would just die off and never be written up and published, and the researchers would go onto something else. Of course at a common 95% confidence level, if the same researchers did 20 studies like this, on average they would find one false positive (either a negative or positive correlation between the thing studied having an effect) - even faster if they measure multiple different outcomes as any one of them could show up as statistically significant purely through luck.

This is why an individual new scientific study saying something new should be completely ignored by the mass media and public, it should only be of interest for other scientists in the field to try and replicate - of course equally just because one study didn't suggest a correlation that doesn't guarantee there isn't a link for similar reasons. Only once there is an independent verification should any real interest start outside the research community in question.
 
2012-04-05 01:52:31 PM

RoyBatty: soupbone: doubled99: This is why I will not give money to the American Cancer Society.
What other corporation would be allowed to exist if it failed in its' goals for 50 years straight?

This has got to be one of the easiest trolls I've ever spotted here.

You should stop hunting trolls until your humor detector is fixed.


There's a fine line drawn between sarcasm/snarkiness and trolling. I thought he was slightly more on the troll side.

/runs off crying to get my meter fixed
 
2012-04-05 01:53:39 PM

soupbone: RoyBatty: soupbone: doubled99: This is why I will not give money to the American Cancer Society.
What other corporation would be allowed to exist if it failed in its' goals for 50 years straight?

This has got to be one of the easiest trolls I've ever spotted here.

You should stop hunting trolls until your humor detector is fixed.

There's a fine line drawn between sarcasm/snarkiness and trolling. I thought he was slightly more on the troll side.

/runs off crying to get my meter fixed


You're right, but I think doubled99's comment is actually an old joke.
 
2012-04-05 01:53:51 PM

hstein3: Here's the Nature editorial about Begley's piece. Unfortunately, Begley's original piece is behind the paywall yet.


I can find a place to upload/post it if people care enough.
 
2012-04-05 01:53:54 PM

James F. Campbell: Cybernetic: "Competition" is not the same as "perverse incentive". The scientific/academic publishing environment is rife with perverse incentives. There is more reward for publishing first than for being right. So what do you get? A rush to publish, and piles of shoddy research that are given undue credence by virtue of publication. Perverse incentives produce perverse results.

I submit to you that there is no difference.


Just to be clear, are you actually saying that all competition, by definition, constitutes perverse incentive? And if so, what do you recommend as a substitute for competition?
 
2012-04-05 01:54:12 PM

lennavan: The academic reward system discourages efforts to ensure a finding was not a fluke. Nor is there an incentive to verify someone else's discovery. As recently as the late 1990s, most potential cancer-drug targets were backed by 100 to 200 publications. Now each may have fewer than half a dozen.

"If you can write it up and get it published you're not even thinking of reproducibility," said Ken Kaitin, director of the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development. "You make an observation and move on. There is no incentive to find out it was wrong."

You know, farkwad, some of us got into science because we wanted to make a positive impact on the world. Some of us are working our asses off for months on a single experiment to make damn sure it's rigorous, relevant and reproducible.

The incentive to find out if it was wrong is the desire to not be a shiatty scientist who publishes crap that not only did not advance science but indeed held science back because we had to waste the time to figure out it was wrong.

That said, on top of extremely competitive grant funding situation and academic dishonesty, I want to add on two things no one really talks about: an extremely competitive job market for academic science positions and an incredibly long PhD program. After 6 years of hard work, we're asking grad students to keep hammering away and stay rigorous and ensure their shiat is reproducible. You get sick of failure after failure after failure and over time, standards go down because you just want to get the hell out. Same for post-docs, you look back on 12+ years of hard work and realize what's going to get you funding and a job is not hard work or good reproducible science but rather high profile publications.


I agree grad student do the most essential work to our societies future and get paid about what you'd make at McDonald's.
 
2012-04-05 01:56:41 PM
Maybe he's just really bad at replicating studies
 
2012-04-05 01:57:30 PM
Relevant:

www.smbc-comics.com
 
2012-04-05 01:58:59 PM

Cucullen: I agree grad student do the most essential work to our societies future and get paid about what you'd make at McDonald's.


Well, the point was more they do the work and a lot of it is really easy to fake or misinterpret. In year one or two, you're all excited and you get a preliminary result and you're more than happy to design lots of controls and replicate it and whatnot. By year six with no end yet in sight, pressure mounts.
 
2012-04-05 01:59:41 PM

lennavan: The academic reward system discourages efforts to ensure a finding was not a fluke. Nor is there an incentive to verify someone else's discovery. As recently as the late 1990s, most potential cancer-drug targets were backed by 100 to 200 publications. Now each may have fewer than half a dozen.

"If you can write it up and get it published you're not even thinking of reproducibility," said Ken Kaitin, director of the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development. "You make an observation and move on. There is no incentive to find out it was wrong."

You know, farkwad, some of us got into science because we wanted to make a positive impact on the world. Some of us are working our asses off for months on a single experiment to make damn sure it's rigorous, relevant and reproducible.

The incentive to find out if it was wrong is the desire to not be a shiatty scientist who publishes crap that not only did not advance science but indeed held science back because we had to waste the time to figure out it was wrong.

That said, on top of extremely competitive grant funding situation and academic dishonesty, I want to add on two things no one really talks about: an extremely competitive job market for academic science positions and an incredibly long PhD program. After 6 years of hard work, we're asking grad students to keep hammering away and stay rigorous and ensure their shiat is reproducible. You get sick of failure after failure after failure and over time, standards go down because you just want to get the hell out. Same for post-docs, you look back on 12+ years of hard work and realize what's going to get you funding and a job is not hard work or good reproducible science but rather high profile publications.


*Sigh*. This. I didn't do a post-doc and went straight into industry. At 30, I wanted a grown up salary for 12 hours a day work.
 
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