Today, the Nature Human Behavior journal published a “manifesto for reproducible science”. The document is an excellent read; its authors “argue for the adoption of measures to optimize key elements of the scientific process: methods, reporting and dissemination, reproducibility, evaluation and incentives.”
The manifesto makes a point of addressing conflicts of interest.
- “What proportion of published research is likely to be false? Low sample size, small effect sizes, data dredging (also known as P-hacking), conflicts of interest, large numbers of scientists working competitively in silos without combining their efforts, and so on, may conspire to dramatically increase the probability that a published finding is incorrect.”
- “The need for independent methodological support is well-established in some areas — many clinical trials, for example, have multidisciplinary trial steering to provide advice and oversee the design and conduct of the trial.”
- “The need for these committees grew out of the well-understood financial conflicts of interest that exist in many clinical trials. The sponsor of a trial may be the company manufacturing the product, and any intentional or unintentional influence can distort the study design, analysis and interpretation of results for the ultimate financial benefit of the manufacturer at the cost of the accuracy of the science and the health benefit to the consumers.”
- “Non-financial conflicts of interest also exist, such as the beliefs and preconceptions of individual scientists and the stakes that researchers have in obtaining publishable results in order to progress their career.”
- “Positive, novel and clean results are more likely to be published than negative results, replications and results with loose ends; as a consequence, researchers are incentivized to produce the former, even at the cost of accuracy.”