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Author Topic: Does the sponsor of research effect the results  (Read 3907 times)

Offline pete_inthehills

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Does the sponsor of research effect the results
« on: 10/09/2007 21:41:58 »
Once upon a time, many beers ago, when I was intelligent I worked as a researcher in an educational establishment.  I was offered a sponsored PHD.  Thankfully I was just stupid enough to know that I'd never finish it and declined the offer, but it got me to thinking.

Do researchers, post docs etc feel pressure from the sponsor to find the "right" answer?

Are you worried that if you go off party line you'll never get another funding award and have to cut your hair and get a real job?



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Offline JimBob

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Does the sponsor of research effect the results
« Reply #1 on: 10/09/2007 22:21:17 »
yes
 

Offline pete_inthehills

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Does the sponsor of research effect the results
« Reply #2 on: 10/09/2007 22:24:55 »
short and to the point, JimBob, like it.

You don't feel the urge to elaborate on your answer?

A few pithy anecdotes?


pete
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Offline DoctorBeaver

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Does the sponsor of research effect the results
« Reply #3 on: 10/09/2007 22:26:59 »
It most certainly does happen. I've heard quite a few stories of research being directed down dubious paths. I've also seen results of research that have made me concerned about the validity of the methodologies employed.

I had a rant here the other day about misleading statistics. I'm always very wary of papers that only quote percentages rather than giving actual figures. I wonder why hard figures are not given. Then again, I'm a cynical old rodent.

Fortunately I was in a position to be able to fund my own PhD research so the only pressure I was under came from myself & my research director.
 

Offline JimBob

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Does the sponsor of research effect the results
« Reply #4 on: 10/09/2007 22:40:22 »
My masters was to be paid for by an oil company - it was a study of porosity & permeability relationships in different depositional facies of a major sandstone reservoir. The kicker was I had to use their interpretation of facies and sedimentation regiems which was out of whack with two published studies - it would have ment nothing.
 
 

another_someone

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Does the sponsor of research effect the results
« Reply #5 on: 10/09/2007 23:47:21 »
My masters was to be paid for by an oil company - it was a study of porosity & permeability relationships in different depositional facies of a major sandstone reservoir. The kicker was I had to use their interpretation of facies and sedimentation regiems which was out of whack with two published studies - it would have ment nothing.

Might I ask what they had to gain out of this?

Was the research to be used to environmental arguments, or for understanding oil deposits (it sounds to me more relevant to the latter, but if that is the case, then one would expect their best interests to be served by a meaningful research study rather than a distorted one)?
 

Offline JimBob

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Does the sponsor of research effect the results
« Reply #6 on: 11/09/2007 03:07:34 »
The company had acreage held by production in an area they wished to promote so they included this poorer acreage in the sand facies that would eventually show up - on first glance at the data - in a favorable light having excellent overall porosity and permeability.
 

another_someone

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Does the sponsor of research effect the results
« Reply #7 on: 11/09/2007 03:21:35 »
The company had acreage held by production in an area they wished to promote so they included this poorer acreage in the sand facies that would eventually show up - on first glance at the data - in a favorable light having excellent overall porosity and permeability.

Sounds to me, at first glance, that they could be accused of criminally defrauding their shareholders, if in seeking to distort the analysis of the value of their holdings, they are altering the stock value of their company.
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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Does the sponsor of research effect the results
« Reply #8 on: 11/09/2007 07:40:42 »
I was going to mention oil & pharmaceutical companies as being major culprits
 

Offline JimBob

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Does the sponsor of research effect the results
« Reply #9 on: 12/09/2007 00:47:45 »
Pharmaceuticals most assuredly. The drug Lipitor (US name) is the largest selling drug in the us but the package insert that contains the statement "Cholesterol has not been shown to be a cause of heart disease." or something to that effect. THERE IS NO LINK. If you look at the data that is presented, the statistics are for relative percentages, not absolute percentages. The absolute percentages are statistically insignificant - 1% or less.

 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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Does the sponsor of research effect the results
« Reply #10 on: 12/09/2007 07:35:03 »
Sandra's nan is on Lipitor. I came across a report a while ago that said there is no evidence that it actually does any good.
 

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Does the sponsor of research effect the results
« Reply #10 on: 12/09/2007 07:35:03 »

 

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