Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth. Marcus Aurelius
That quote by my favorite philosopher rang clear while I read through a recent article in The Economist. The article argues that a large portion, possibly even the majority, of published academic research is critically flawed.
Here’s an excerpt from the article: “A few years ago scientists at Amgen, an American drug company, tried to replicate 53 studies that they considered landmarks in the basic science of cancer, often co-operating closely with the original researchers to ensure that their experimental technique matched the one used first time round. According to a piece they wrote last year in Nature, a leading scientific journal, they were able to reproduce the original results in just six. Months earlier Florian Prinz and his colleagues at Bayer HealthCare, a German pharmaceutical giant, reported in Nature Reviews Drug Discovery, a sister journal, that they had successfully reproduced the published results in just a quarter of 67 seminal studies.”
I’m skeptical that things are as bad as The Economist suggests. But those of us in the business of taking cutting edge research from the university to the marketplace need to be cautious. Before we look at the intellectual property and think it could BE different, perhaps we should think is it so?