Recently, in a press conference, President Donald Trump said; Hydroxychloroquine might be the treatment of COVID-19. He was referring to the study published in a peer-reviewed journal. After getting the attention of so many people, the study was retracted and this brings us to a question. Why was the study published in the first place? The reality of this is eye-opening. When it comes to the life sciences such as pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals, microbiology, etc. Peer review is not what we think it is. It is simply flawed.
According to the study, two percent of scientists admitted falsifying data for their research and publishing the papers with it. Not only that, almost 4 in 10 scientists admitted that they have been using questionable research methodologies for their research. And moreover, about 72 percent of them admitted to knowing someone who falsified the data for their research. We have seen a huge increase in published papers over the last decade or two, and at the same time, it has been difficult to detect. But even if they are pointed out, the repercussions for them aren’t too much. Universities have known to sweep this under the rug because it taints their reputation and if the person faking the research is a tenured professor there, the situation gets more difficult for the people pointing the fakes out, and if you are a young scientist, you might lose your career.
The main problem arises when the raw data are not published and there is no requirement for publishing raw data by the journals. There have been so many instances where simply having the raw data would be enough to see if the research is forged or real. Keeping this in mind, the journals should stop accepting papers without raw data. This way the independent viewers can actually see if the results are according to the research and if they can be replicated. This practice is usually opposed by the pharmaceutical and Nutraceutical companies because sometimes their research is forged to get the drugs or supplement approved. But if we wish to get rid of this “epidemic”, we need to make regulations that only allow the authors to publish the papers that provide raw data with their work.
Medical supplies manufacturers and other life sciences must publish the evidence-based research papers only, rather than the papers where a third person can’t replicate the research and review it.