Huge kudos to you, Julia, not only for your outstandingly ethical reaction to discovering your original data was flawed but also for writing this very important article. As far back as 2006 both Nature and Science published stories revealing that at least 50% of all scientific papers resulting from NIH grants were fundamentally flawed. People have been talking about the dilemma of non-reproducible data ever since, but nothing has been done to correct the situation. In my own experience at a NIH-funded research institution where review by a leading statistician showed a huge number of “garbage” papers had been published, the general reaction from PIs was (i) denial, and (ii) refusal to go public with the information. After all, who wants to jeopardize their RO1s?

Your example will, we must hope, encourage other researchers to be more open and honest about unintentional errors and ultimately lead to far more robust science.

Anyone who enjoys my articles here on Medium may be interested in my books Why Democracy Failed and The Praying Ape, both available from Amazon.

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