Countdown to Wrongful Conviction Day: Friday, October 2, 2105; 25 days. For information: http://www.aidwyc.org/wcd-2015/
"If scientists and scientific journals want the public to have confidence in the reliability of published studies, they will have to take a more rigorous approach and be better gatekeepers. A new study published in the Aug. 28 issue of the journal Science, which shows that less than half the psychology studies researchers reviewed could be replicated, is just the latest in a series of depressing revelations about the reliability of scientific research. The study, coordinated by University of Virginia (UVa) psychology professor Brian Nosek, was conducted by nearly 300 researchers on five continents, according to a UVa statement. The team tried to replicate the findings of 100 studies that had been published in three prestigious journals. The researchers found they could do so in only half the cases. “For years there has been concern about the reproducibility of scientific findings, but little direct, systematic evidence,” says Nosek in the statement. “This project is the first of its kind and adds substantial evidence that the concerns are real and addressable.”Replication of experiments is a foundation of the scientific method. Without it, the public is forced to rely on assertions based only on someone’s purported authority, rather than on real, demonstrable evidence. Credibility in science “accumulates through independent replication and elaboration of the ideas and evidence,” added Angela Atwood, a psychology professor at the University of Bristol in the UK. Failure to reproduce findings can happen for a variety of reasons and even small differences in how a replication is conducted can affect results. But outright fakery and fraud are another matter.........Some of the most worrying scientific failures are the errors and falsifications that occur at crime laboratories, where wrong results can deprive someone of their freedom, or even their life. In 2012, for example, questions were raised in some 34,000 criminal drug cases when forensic chemist Annie Dookhan at the Department of Public Health in Massachusetts was found to have falsified records by failing to perform required tests, mixing up samples, and forging signatures. As of this year, more than 300 people have been released from prison because of tainted convictions, a report by The New York Times said."