Despite the prestige that comes with research being published in peer-reviewed journals like Nature, recent investigation into published studies have found many to be irreproducible or flat-out wrong. Indeed, one groundbreaking stem cell study was recently called into question after researchers were unable to replicate its conclusions, while 120 computer-generated papers were thrown out last month. To help prevent this influx of bad science, Stanford University is launching the Meta-Research Innovation Center (METRIC) to verify the findings of scientific research.
METRIC, The Economist reports, is led by Stanford professor John Ioannidis, an epidemiologist who in 2005 famously wrote "Why most published research findings are false," a paper that sought to prove that research can and is often marred by sloppy statistical findings and shoddy ideas. METRIC will thus attempt to improve publishing best practices by encouraging more rigorous peer review and discouraging wasted effort (and investments). However, the meta-research of Ioannidis and his collaborators won't be immune to review either.
Update: A previous version of this post stated that Nature had retracted a recent stem cell study. That was inaccurate. While the Nature Publishing Group is conducting an investigation into the matter, a retraction has not been made.