An estimate of the science-wise false discovery rate and application to the top medical literature

Biostat: September 25, 2013

The accuracy of published medical research is critical for scientists, physicians and patients who rely on these results. However, the fundamental belief in the medical literature was called into serious question by a paper suggesting that most published medical research is false. Here we adapt estimation methods from the genomics community to the problem of estimating the rate of false discoveries in the medical literature using reported P-values as the data. We then collect P-values from the abstracts of all 77 430 papers published in The LancetThe Journal of the American Medical AssociationThe New England Journal of MedicineThe British Medical Journal, and The American Journal of Epidemiology between 2000 and 2010. Among these papers, we found 5322 reported P-values. Read More