Imagine a researcher publishing a paper that contains a key error in some fact or figure. This error slips through review and ends up being cited in future papers. Later, the original researcher notices the error and publishes a correction. Is there any process for dealing with the network of papers that cited his information and now have faulty premises? Or does this not happen enough in the real world to be of concern?


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There is no process. Yet the literature is full of errors. It has been credibly claimed that most published papers are false. (And most false papers fall into obscurity without ever being corrected or retracted.) Any researcher who wants to rely on previously published claims had better check these claims.

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    If you read the linked paper by Ioannidis, you will see that despite claiming the opposite, it doesn't anywhere show that "most published research findings are false". It doesn't look at any actual research findings at all, instead it uses an extremely simplified model for the research process that relies on debatable parameter choices. In this sense what is claimed there may itself be a false "research finding", if it counts as a "finding" at all (Ioannidis doesn't really discuss what "counts", which is one of the shortcomings of his approach). Agree with the last sentence though. Jul 2 at 20:05
  • Another attempt at testing the reliability of research, this one in psychology: nature.com/articles/nature.2015.17433 . Jul 3 at 7:32

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