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Is much biomedical research nothing more than bad science?

A science reporter for National Public Radio weighs in on the quality of biomedical research in a new book out this month.

The title of Richard Harris’ book, “Rigor Mortis: How Sloppy Science Creates Worthless Cures, Crushes Hopes, and Wastes Billions,” does little to instill confidence in those of us who make our careers in, or volunteer our time reviewing, medical research. But it might be an interesting addition to the literature on how biomedical research is viewed by experts in the field and the public at large.

We here at IRB Blog Central have not yet read this title, but we are intrigued by some of the reviews of it we found online:

From PBS: Why bad science is plaguing health research — and how to fix it

Kirkus Reviews describes the book as an “easy-reading but hard-hitting expose of a dysfunctional biomedical research system” that “is sure to stir controversy and arouse ire among those who feel their ox is being gored.”

From NPR, which includes a link to an audio interview with the author.

And, as an aside, a Stanford statistician has also done some work highlighting what he thinks are deficiencies in many research publications. An IRB Blog Central editor heard him speak at a conference once, and found his arguments interesting.

Disclaimer: We have no competing interest in recommending this title. Zero, zip, nada. Our interest in this book and its sales is limited to ordering a copy as soon as we get a chance.