Why Most Published Research Findings Are False

2005 essay written by John Ioannidis / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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"Why Most Published Research Findings Are False" is a 2005 essay written by John Ioannidis, a professor at the Stanford School of Medicine, and published in PLOS Medicine.[1] It is considered foundational to the field of metascience.

The PDF of the paper

In the paper, Ioannidis argued that a large number, if not the majority, of published medical research papers contain results that cannot be replicated. In simple terms, the essay states that scientists use hypothesis testing to determine whether scientific discoveries are significant. "Significance" is formalized in terms of probability, and one formalized calculation ("P value") is reported in the scientific literature as a screening mechanism. Ioannidis posited assumptions about the way people perform and report these tests; then he constructed a statistical model which indicates that most published findings are false positive results.