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Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

UAB Makes Recommendations for Greater Accuracy in Nutrition Science Literature

In an article titled “Goals in Nutrition Science 2015‑2020,” published in September in the journal Frontiers in Nutrition, Dr. Andrew W. Brown, scientist in the office of energetics and the Nutrition Obesity Research Center (NORC), and Dr. Tapan Mehta, assistant professor in the department of health services administration and associate scientist in the NORC, at the University of Alabama at Birmingham — in collaboration with Dr. David B. Allison, distinguished professor and director of UAB’s office of energetics and NORC — address the pressing importance of identifying inaccuracies in the literature as well as in adopting exacting standards for the dissemination of scientific evidence that is free from distortion or bias.

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[Photo: Dr. Andrew W. Brown (top) and Dr. Tapan Mehta]

The researchers acknowledge that accepting the challenge of exposing factual errors and sharing only conclusions supported by solid evidence may in recent years have been at odds with social, institutional, and economic pressures and influences. In addition to impartiality, they note that sound methodology and overall frankness — as well as the ability to replicate study results — are vital to accomplishing this two-fold mission. Furthermore, they advise categorizing types of errors to assist in recognizing patterns and their origins, as well as in reducing the frequency and gravity of occurrences. They point to the adoption of Transparency and Openness Promotion (TOP) Guidelines — which uphold that “[t]ransparency, open sharing, and reproducibility are core features of science” — across various scientific fields as a sign of moving in the right direction.

The authors believe that acknowledging the existence of such problems is a crucial step in improving the scientific basis of the field of nutrition science.

Journal article: http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fnut.2015.00026/full