In 2005, epidemiologist John Ioannidis shook up the scientific community, calling out a crisis of statistical weakness in research with his paper, “Why most published research findings are false.” Thanks to funding from Laura and John Arnold, Ioannidis is now rounding up something like The Untouchables of research, a team out of Stanford devoted to cleaning up this credibility problem.
Everyone has a theory, but thousands of studies later, we seem to have few good solutions to the fact that America’s obesity rates have tripled since the 1960s. As part of its Research Integrity program, one foundation hopes a surge in private funding will get to the bottom of this maddeningly confusing problem.
A growing recognition of retractions, scandals and crimes against statistics in published studies have people inside and outside the science community concerned about just how much bad work is out there, and how big of a threat it is to the credibility of research overall. One philanthropy power couple is backing the first large-scale effort to investigate the problem and intensify rigor in research.