Experience that led to Science Exchange featured in Science magazine

July 5, 2012 | Posted by Dan in Reproducibility |

Science magazine recently published a short article by Science Exchange Founder & CEO Elizabeth Iorns outlining a specific experience that changed her career goals.

Elizabeth’s article documents her first experience with the systematic bias against reproducibility in the academic research world, which led ultimately to the creation of Science Exchange.

The article is copied below:

During the first year of my postdoctoral fellowship, I had an experience that fundamentally changed my career goals. I worked on a project to extend an exciting discovery, a novel regulator of breast cancer metastasis, which had been recently published in Nature. My excitement turned to despair when I was unable to reproduce the original finding, and after confirming the original finding could not be replicated, I wrote a follow-up paper, which was rejected from NatureScience, and Cell without review. Shockingly, the original authors and even the head of the university where the work was done wrote hostile letters about my failed attempt to reproduce their work (JNCI1 and JNCI2). This experience was my first encounter with the systematic bias against reproducibility in the academic research world, documented by Ioannidis and highlighted by the Bayer and Amgen drug target studies. This experience showed me that the route to career success was not careful, responsible, reproducible work, but rather controversial, and likely false, positive findings. At this point, my career goal turned from the tenure track to the business world, where I’m now building a system to enable and incentivize high quality robust research from academic labs. I hope this system will enable greater translation of robust results into clinical application.

For more, see Elizabeth’s recent post on the issue of the reproducibility of research.

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