Researching Research

Stanford University starts new center to study how scientific research can be improved.

Jef Akst
Jef Akst

Jef Akst is managing editor of The Scientist, where she started as an intern in 2009 after receiving a master’s degree from Indiana University in April 2009 studying the mating behavior of seahorses.

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Apr 28, 2014

WIKIMEDIA, NATIONAL CANCER INSTITUTEThe recently launched Meta-Research Innovation Center (METRICS) at Stanford University aims to change how research is done. Professors of Medicine John Ioannidis and Steven Goodman will head the new center, which is funded by a $6 million grant from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation and will host scientists from diverse fields to share their findings and discuss the challenges of performing rigorous research. The end goal is to identify common errors and biases that may be contributing to the rise in irreproducible research.

“We’re all interested in advancing excellence in research,” Ioannidis told The Chronicle of Higher Education. “It became apparent to me that these issues occurred so frequently that, maybe instead of trying to answer a single question, one should take a bird’s-eye view. What’s happening in the scientific literature in general?”

Ioannidis, who in 2005 penned the provocative PLOS Medicine article “Why...

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