12 reasons research goes wrong | Science News

SUPPORT SCIENCE NEWS

Science News is a nonprofit.

Help us keep you informed.


Feature

12 reasons research goes wrong

By
1:23pm, January 13, 2015
Math illustration

FIXING THE NUMBERS  Massaging data, small sample sizes and other issues can affect the statistical analyses of studies and distort the results, and that's not all that can go wrong.

For more on reproducibility in science, see SN's feature "Is redoing scientific research the best way to find truth?"

Barriers to research replication are based largely in a scientific culture that pits researchers against each other in competition for scarce resources. Any or all of the factors below, plus others, may combine to skew results.

Pressure to publish

Research funds are tighter than ever and good positions are hard to come by. To get grants and jobs, scientists need to publish, preferably in big-name journals. That pressure may lead researchers to publish many low-quality studies instead of aiming for a smaller number of well-done studies. To convince administrators and grant reviewers of the worthiness of their work, scientists have to be cheerleaders for their research; they may not be as

This article is only available to Science News subscribers. Already a subscriber? Log in now. Or subscribe today for full access.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from Science News

From the Nature Index Paid Content