3 years ago

Centralized "big science" communities more likely generate non-replicable results.

James A. Evans, Valentin Danchev, Andrey Rzhetsky

Growing concern that most published results, including those widely agreed upon, may be false are rarely examined against rapidly expanding research production. Replications have only occurred on small scales due to prohibitive expense and limited professional incentive. We introduce a novel, high-throughput replication strategy aligning 51,292 published claims about drug-gene interactions with high-throughput experiments performed through the NIH LINCS L1000 program. We show (1) that unique claims replicate 19% more frequently than at random, while those widely agreed upon replicate 45% more frequently, manifesting collective correction mechanisms in science; but (2) centralized scientific communities perpetuate claims that are less likely to replicate even if widely agreed upon, demonstrating how centralized, overlapping collaborations weaken collective understanding. Decentralized research communities involve more independent teams and use more diverse methodologies, generating the most robust, replicable results. Our findings highlight the importance of science policies that foster decentralized collaboration to promote robust scientific advance.

Publisher URL: http://arxiv.org/abs/1801.05042

DOI: arXiv:1801.05042v1

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