John Ioannidis attracted some attention through a 2005 paper titled “Why Most Research Findings Are False.” Ioannidis continued working in what is sadly just a niche – research quality assurance. Part of Stanford’s School of Medicine, Ioannidis is now one of the directors of a new center, the Meta-Research Innovation Center at Stanford (METRICS). This Economist article appears to serve as an early announcement about the center ahead of a formal launch in the coming days. The center does have a website, but as of this posting, it’s not fully operational.
Ioannidis is joined as Director by Steven Goodman, Associate Dean of Clinical and Translational Research at Stanford. His work has focused on proper inference, statistical analysis, and other components of effective research. His interests include comparative effectiveness research and research outcomes. The combination of experience between Goodman and Ioannidis seems tightly coupled to two major goals of the center –
“Our center aims to undertake rigorous evaluation of research practices and find ways to optimize the reproducibility and efficiency of scientific investigation. We aim to apply research methods to study how research is done, and how it can be done better.”
There’s an extensive laundry list of items METRICS wants to tackle. Those interested in open research data (and methods), the various biases within research, conflicts of interest and commitment, and otherwise strengthening the reputation of the scientific enterprise should keep an eye on METRICS, and if they can, urge other researchers to take heed. METRICS shouldn’t stand alone as a university research center focused on closing the gaps between research practices and research ideals.