Four steps to better research

Scientists and funding agencies around the world are putting their heads together to identify factors that can influence the accuracy of research findings. Among them:

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How readily scientists share the data they generate. Not sharing prevents others from trying to reproduce your findings and can result in the unnecessary (and costly) duplication of research efforts.
Whether they fully describe how they conducted their research. A thorough description is necessary to ensure that others can try to replicate published findings.
What method is used to analyze the data. Scientists sometimes succumb to “shopping” for a statistical method of analysis that makes their findings appear more significant.
How career accolades and grant funding are awarded in the researcher’s field. Name-dropping high-profile journals in one’s CV often carries more reputational weight than studies in lesser journals that report negative results or attempts to replicate others’ work.

Krista Conger is a science writer for the medical school's Office of Communication & Public Affairs. Email her at kristac@stanford.edu.

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