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Saturday, April 11, 2015

Amid a Sea of False Findings, the NIH Tries Reform; Science needs to get its house in order, says Francis Collins, director of the NIH

By Paul Voosen
Chronicle of Higher Education
Originally published March 16, 2015

How do you change an entire scientific culture?

It may sound grandiose, but that is the loaded question now facing the National Institutes of Health, the federal agency that oversees and finances U.S. biomedical research.

While the public remains relatively unaware of the problem, it is now a truism in the scientific establishment that many preclinical biomedical studies, when subjected to additional scrutiny, turn out to be false.

Many researchers believe that if scientists set out to reproduce preclinical work published over the past decade, a majority would fail.

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The NIH, if it was at first reluctant to consider the problem, is now taking it seriously. Just over a year ago, the agency's director, Francis S. Collins, and his chief deputy, Lawrence A. Tabak, announced actions the agency would take to improve the research it finances.

Science needs to get its house in order, Dr. Collins said in a recent interview with The Chronicle.

The entire article is here.