The price we have to pay for better science

A paper by Young / Ioannidis / Al-Ubaydli attacks the oligopoly of biomedical journals (just as I have done here many times including also the idea of a winner’s curse). From the press release

The current system of publishing medical and scientific research provides “a distorted view of the reality of scientific data that are generated in the laboratory and clinic,” says a team of researchers in this week’s PLoS Medicine […]
There is an “extreme imbalance,” they say, between the abundance of supply (the output of basic science laboratories and clinical investigations) and the increasingly limited venues for publication (journals with sufficiently high impact). The result is that only a small proportion of all research results are eventually chosen for publication, and these results are unrepresentative of scientists’ repeated samplings of the real world.
The authors argue that there is a moral imperative to reconsider how scientific data are judged and disseminated.

This is is something that comes right from my heart although I haven’t argued so far with any moral instance. By criticizing the impact optimzing strategy the authors make a really good point as

the more extreme, spectacular results […] may be preferentially published. Journals serve as intermediaries and may suffer minimal immediate consequences for errors of over- or mis-estimation, but it is the consumers of these laboratory and clinical results (other expert scientists; trainees choosing fields of endeavour; physicians and their patients; funding agencies; the media) who are “cursed” if these results are severely exaggerated—overvalued and unrepresentative of the true outcomes of many similar experiments.

… a perfect description why we feel so frequently disappointed from the many unreplicable genetic association studies – spending research funds on results that can not be verified – colored peter or the bucks stops here. Bravo, the best paper this year, yea, yea.