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Bad Science

Ben Goldacre's Bad Science column from the Guardian and more...

Last Build Date: Fri, 23 Sep 2016 06:38:27 +0000


Taking transparency beyond results: ethics committees must work in the open

Fri, 23 Sep 2016 06:22:35 +0000

Here’s a useful paper we’ve just published in the BMJ, documenting problems in transparency around approval processes for randomised trials. There’s a basic rule in clinical research: you’re only supposed to do a trial comparing two treatments when you really don’t know which one is best, otherwise you’d be knowingly randomising half your participants to an […]

Events in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Auckland

Fri, 23 Sep 2016 06:09:57 +0000

Hi there, I’m doing a few events in Australia and NZ this week: in Sydney, Melbourne, Auckland (only 25 tickets left), and Brisbane. Here‘s a good fun interview I did with The Conversation that gets very nerdy, on the poor state of science, COMPare, statins, reproducibility and transparency. I’ll post a big backlog of interviews, and papers, over […]

Ban academics from talking to ministers? We should train them to do it!

Mon, 07 Mar 2016 17:21:56 +0000

The Cabinet Office has come up with a crazy plan to ban academics like me from talking to politicians and civil servants. In this piece I explain why that is an almost surreally stupid idea. I also describe how I hustle, in Whitehall, to try and get government policy changed on open data, scientific transparency, and […]

So this company Cyagen is paying authors for citations in academic papers.

Fri, 14 Aug 2015 15:31:16 +0000

Here’s a strange thing, a seedy curio rather than a massive scandal, but I’d be interested to know what you make of it. This week lots of academics all received the same unsolicited marketing email from a large well known research company called Cyagen, who make transgenic mice, stem cells, and so on. The email was headed […]

Fixing flaws in science must be professionalised. By me in the Journal of Clinical Epidemiology.

Fri, 10 Jul 2015 12:19:28 +0000

Me and a dozen other academics all just wrote basically the same thing about Open Science in the Journal Of Clinical Epidemiology. After the technical bits, me and Tracey get our tank out. That’s for a reason: publishing academic papers about structural problems in science is a necessary condition for change, but it’s not sufficient. We don’t need any […]

New BMJ editorial: “How Medicine is Broken, and How We Can Fix It”

Tue, 23 Jun 2015 16:03:50 +0000

There are some big problems in medicine, and the public are right to be concerned about our shortcomings. Last week we found out that the Chief Medical Officer has written to the Academy of Medical Sciences, asking for an authoritative review into problems in the evidence we use to choose treatments, focusing especially on concerns […]

Two interviews on withheld trials, NPR and ABC

Mon, 27 Apr 2015 12:38:59 +0000

Here are a couple of fairly detailed interviews I’ve done over the last two weeks, both on the problem of clinical trial results being withheld. The first is with On The Media, an excellent NPR show, the clip is here. The second interview is with ABC and has two striking features. One is my big, fat, red face. The second […]

WHO announcement on withheld clinical trials, and my commentary in PLoS Medicine

Thu, 16 Apr 2015 14:17:57 +0000

As you’ll hopefully know by now from reading Bad Science, Bad Pharma, and my endless columns on the subject, medicine has a problem: the results of clinical trials are routinely and legally withheld from doctors, researchers, and patients. We started the campaign two years ago to build a global campaign on this issue, and we’ll be publishing […]

I did a Newsnight thing about how politics needs better data

Mon, 16 Feb 2015 10:19:51 +0000

Here’s a 5 minute film I did on Newsnight last week, about how politics needs better data. Specifically, it’s about how politicians misuse statistics, how we can stop them, and how we can generate better evidence on what works, and what fails.   If you’re interested in more on this topic, well… there are some good examples […]

Richard Herring Leicester Square Theatre Show, interview, video…

Tue, 10 Feb 2015 11:29:04 +0000

I took great pride in the fact that my book Bad Science was first reviewed by Viz and the British Medical Journal. In that vein, here’s a 90 minute interview I did on stage with comedian Richard Herring in the Leicester Square Theatre. I have bad hair, we cover a lot of dorky material – […]

My BMJ editorial: how can we stop academic press releases misleading the public?

Wed, 10 Dec 2014 14:34:49 +0000

There is an excellent research paper published today in the BMJ, showing that academic press releases routinely exaggerate scientific findings and mislead the public. This is something I’ve often covered. In this story, for example, the BMJ’s own press release about their own paper was hopelessly and entirely misleading. And after this story, featuring a […]

That YouGov parlour game is wrong. This annoys me.

Wed, 19 Nov 2014 15:44:05 +0000

YouGov have produced a fun, popular new parlour game. You give the site the name of a celebrity, author, TV show, pet, activity, or anything; and it gives you a lot more information in return. Essentially: “other things that such a person typically does and likes”. So, the “favourite dishes” of people who read Ben Goldacre books are Vegetarian Thali, […]

Some London talks and events coming up

Fri, 14 Nov 2014 16:23:22 +0000

There are a few London talks and events coming up over the next few weeks, all very different, and more to come around the country soon: Monday 17th Nov – Richard Herring Leicester Square Podcast This show is a great institution: comedian Richard Herring interviews comedians and the occasional nerd in front of a live audience, […]

What should Cochrane do next?

Wed, 05 Nov 2014 13:08:31 +0000

Here’s a talk I did last year that’s just popped up online. The Cochrane Collaboration is a fabulous organisation, producing gold standard “systematic reviews” summarising all the data that’s ever been collected on important questions in medicine. Cochrane have become great by inviting criticism: for example, they run the Silverman Prize, for the best essay or paper pointing […]

My new book is out today. Here is the introduction. Hooray!

Thu, 23 Oct 2014 12:03:34 +0000

My new book is out today: a collection of columns, journalism and essays, but also some of my more colourful government reports, academic papers, and more. It looks lovely. Here is the introduction. Hooray! ……  Amazon ………………….. …………………. Audible ……… ……….  Waterstones  ………. ….. Kindle   …………………….. ……….   Local  …………………. …….. Harper Collins  ……….. Introduction This is a collection of my most fun […]

Weirdly long and fun Absolute FM radio interview

Mon, 20 Oct 2014 10:43:44 +0000

Taking epidemiology to the streets: here’s a long, long interview I did last week on Absolute FM (lovely Geoff Lloyd’s lovely Hometime Show). Posting here because it’s unusually good and long for pop media. In between the rock classics, we talk about screening, Ebola, government statistics, and good quality sperm. My lovely new book – I […]

I totally just touched my new book: Collected Journalism, out next week!

Fri, 17 Oct 2014 10:19:11 +0000

Excitement. My new book is out next week. It’s a collection of journalism, essays, academic papers, government reports (woo!) and other stuff. It’s called “I think you’ll find it’s a bit more complicated than that”. A copy just arrived and it is a beautiful, big, thing. The content is all completely different to Bad Science […]

Teaching science with bad science: resources for teachers

Thu, 24 Jul 2014 12:43:24 +0000

People often wring their hands over how to make science “relevant” to the public, or to young people. For me, this is an open goal: we are constantly barraged with health claims in popular culture, and evidence based medicine is the science of how we know what does good, and what does harm. Every popular claim is an […]

What statins tell us about the mess in evidence based medicine

Mon, 30 Jun 2014 17:10:53 +0000

Sorry to be absent, I’ve about a zillion big things shortly coming to fruition, at which point expect a deluge. Everyone is having kittens about statins and the BMJ at the moment. Here’s what I wrote as a rabid response on the latest BMJ editorial about it, and a disco soundtrack to keep your attention […]

Statins have no side effects? What our study really found, its fixable flaws, and why trials transparency matters (again).

Thu, 13 Mar 2014 18:38:02 +0000

Hi there, sorry to be absent (dayjob!). I was surprised to see a study I’m a co-author on getting some front page media play today, under the headline “Statins ‘have no side effects'”. That’s not what our paper found. But it was an interesting piece of work, with an odd result, looking at side effects […]