Talk on reproducibility & reliability of science

The Department of Biomedical Science is delighted to announce a seminar by Prof. Marcus Munafo of the University of Bristol. Professor Munafo was the Keynote Speaker at a recent Symposium on the Reproducibility and Reliability of Biomedical Research organised by the Academy of Medical Sciences in conjunction with the Wellcome Trust, MRC and BBSRC. The talk he will give in Sheffield, which will take place on 13th July at 1200 in Alfred Denny Building Lecture Theatre 1, will reflect his keynote address and is entitled:
“Reproducibility: What is the scale of the problem?”

Prof. Marcus Munafo, MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit
School of Experimental Psychology, University of Bristol

There have been a number of high profile cases of academic fraud recently. However, a more insidious threat to the integrity of science is the extent to which distortions of scientific best practice increases the likelihood that published research findings are in fact false. I will provide evidence for a range of systemic problems within science, such as flexibility in the analysis of data, selective reporting of study results, publication bias against null results, influence of vested (e.g., financial) interests, and distorted incentive structures. I will show that under some plausible and quite conservative assumptions, it is likely that the majority of published findings are in fact false. A number of strategies for improving the situation will be discussed.
Selected publications:
Park et al. Modelling the effects of subjective and objective decision making in scientific peer review. Nature (2014) vol. 506 (7486) pp. 93-6
Button et al. Empirical evidence for low reproducibility indicates low pre-study odds. Nat Rev Neurosci (2013) vol. 14 (12) pp. 877
Flint and Munafò. Genetics. Herit-ability. Science (2013) vol. 340 (6139) pp. 1416-7
Button et al. Confidence and precision increase with high statistical power. Nat Rev Neurosci (2013) vol. 14 (8) pp. 585-6
Flint and Munafò. Genetics: finding genes for schizophrenia. Curr Biol (2014) vol. 24 (16) pp. R755-7
Munafò et al. Scientific rigor and the art of motorcycle maintenance. Nat Biotechnol (2014) vol. 32 (9) pp. 871-3
The talk is highly recommended to all, but particularly to early stage (PhD and post-doc) researchers across the sciences. Prof. Munafo’s host will be Dr Andrew Furley.

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