A science impossible to reproduce

There is danger in delay. The “immune system of science” is failing, as psychologist Chris Chambers notes in his book, The Deadly Sins of Psychology ( 7 Deadly Sins of Psychology , Princeton University Press, untranslated). The learned name of this protection is “reproducibility”, that is to say the possibility of redoing and confirming an experiment.

“Reproducibility and replication are the cornerstones of science. Without them, we have no way of knowing which discoveries are true and which are caused by chance, error or fraud, “says Chris Chambers of Cardiff University. We do not fly in an airplane that has not been rigorously tested over and over again. The same goes for all branches of science visit if you have anxiety ”


Most of the time, it works. Thus in 2014, faced with the impossibility of several laboratories to easily repeat a protocol claiming to obtain pluripotent stem cells, the Japanese team that claimed the discovery in Nature is forced to admit that it has defrauded. The culprit, Haruko Obokata, has resigned and one of his co-authors, Yoshiki Sasai, yet innocent, will commit suicide. Ditto for a genome editing technique, which promised to do better than the technique Crispr-case9, very popular. The article published by Nature Biotechnology in 2016 was withdrawn in August, after the failure of several teams to reproduce the result.

System failure

In contrast to these “success stories” in 2005, John Ioannidis of Stanford University shook the community with an article in Plos Medicine suggesting that “most scientific results are false” because they are impossible to reproduce. Many replication experiments have since been conducted, showing the extent of system failure. In 2012, a team from the biotechnology company Amgen explains that in oncology it has found the published results in only 6 out of 53 cases.