Is most published research really false?

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


There has been an increasing concern in both the scientific and lay communities that most published medical findings are false. But what does it mean to be false? Here we describe the range of definitions of false discoveries in the scientific literature. We summarize the philosophical, statistical, and experimental evidence for each type of false discovery. We discuss common underpinning problems with the scientific and data analytic practices and point to tools and behaviors that can be implemented to reduce the problems with published scientific results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)109-122
Number of pages14
JournalAnnual Review of Statistics and Its Application
StatePublished - Mar 7 2017


  • False discoveries
  • Meta-analysis
  • Reliability research
  • Replicability
  • Reproducibility
  • Science-wise false discovery rate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Statistics, Probability and Uncertainty


Dive into the research topics of 'Is most published research really false?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this