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PLoS Biol. 2018 Mar 13;16(3):e2005468. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.2005468. eCollection 2018 Mar.

Meta-research: Why research on research matters.

Author information

Meta-Research Innovation Center at Stanford (METRICS), Stanford University, Stanford, California, United States of America.
Department of Medicine, Department of Health Research and Policy, and Department of Biomedical Data Science, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California, United States of America.
Department of Statistics, Stanford University School of Humanities and Sciences, Stanford, California, United States of America.


Meta-research is the study of research itself: its methods, reporting, reproducibility, evaluation, and incentives. Given that science is the key driver of human progress, improving the efficiency of scientific investigation and yielding more credible and more useful research results can translate to major benefits. The research enterprise grows very fast. Both new opportunities for knowledge and innovation and new threats to validity and scientific integrity emerge. Old biases abound, and new ones continuously appear as novel disciplines emerge with different standards and challenges. Meta-research uses an interdisciplinary approach to study, promote, and defend robust science. Major disruptions are likely to happen in the way we pursue scientific investigation, and it is important to ensure that these disruptions are evidence based.

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