...Last year, Nature surveyed 1,576 scientists from all disciplines. Overall, 52% perceived a “significant reproducibility crisis,” and another 38% said there was a “slight crisis.” Another 7% said they didn’t know, and only 3% said there was no crisis.
In the case of biomedicine, I find multiple layers of causes, all of which exist to one extent or another in other fields. First is that scientists put too much faith in the ingredients they use. Some 500,000 antibodies are commercially available for experiments, but the quality of those reagents is all over the map, and labs often don’t run enough controls to identify problems. Immortal cell lines are another example, with cross-contamination a major problem. Scientists are paying less attention to more garden-variety reagents, but those are also problematic. That warning would obviously extend beyond the world of biomedicine.
Another huge area of trouble in biomedicine and psychology involves experimental design and statistical analysis. Chemists may have more predictable systems and more reproducible experimental designs, but to the extent they are trapped in the dubious analytical system built around the P value, chemists should be greatly concerned as well. This system is so often misused in science, the American Statistical Association felt compelled to publish a paper in 2016 decrying the shoddy understanding of P values.
And when John Ioannidis wrote the heavily cited essay “Why Most Published Research Findings Are False,” he did not confine his analysis to the life sciences. “For most study designs and settings, it is more likely for a research claim to be false than true,” he notes....Overall, I have rejected the "reproducibility crisis" frame for this issue (and Harris does as well) , because the word "crisis" is not really very well defined for me. (Also, I'm not trapped by P values routinely, but maybe I am and I just don't know!)
My takeaway is pretty bog-standard scientific judgment: you shouldn't believe new results in any field (especially biomedicine) without there being sufficient reproduction from other groups. Also, it would be great if science (chemists!) came up with better, faster, cheaper means of analyzing biomedical reagents (antibodies and such) and verifying identity and purity.