Thursday, May 10, 2012

B - Positive-outcome bias

Fanelli D. Negative results are disappearing from most disciplines and countries. Scientometrics 2012;90(3):891:904
(doi: 10.1007/s11192-011-0494-7)

A system that disfavours negative results not only distorts the scientific literature directly, but might also discourage high-risk projects and pressure scientists to fabricate and falsify their data. This study analysed over 4,600 papers published in all disciplines between 1990 and 2007, measuring the frequency of papers that, having declared to have ‘‘tested’’ a hypothesis, reported a positive support for it. The overall frequency of positive supports has grown by over 22% between 1990 and 2007, with significant differences between disciplines and countries. The increase was stronger in the social and some biomedical disciplines.

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