John Ioannidis

John P. A. Ioannidis (/ˌiəˈndəs/; Greek: Ιωάννης Ιωαννίδης, Greek pronunciation: [iɔˈanis iɔaˈniðis];[1][2] born August 21, 1965) is a Greek-American physician-scientist, writer and Stanford University professor who has made contributions to evidence-based medicine, epidemiology, and clinical research. Ioannidis studies scientific research itself, meta-research primarily in clinical medicine and the social sciences.

John P. A. Ioannidis
Born (1965-08-21) August 21, 1965 (age 56)
NationalityAmerican, Greek
Alma materUniversity of Athens Medical School
Athens College
Known forMetascience
Scientific career
FieldsMedicine, metascience
InstitutionsStanford School of Medicine

Ioannidis's 2005 essay "Why Most Published Research Findings Are False" was the most-accessed article in the history of Public Library of Science as of 2020, with more than 3 million views.[3][4]

Ioannidis has been a prominent opponent of prolonged lockdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic.[5][6][7]

Early life and educationEdit

Born in New York City in 1965, Ioannidis was raised in Athens, Greece.[8] He was valedictorian of his class at Athens College, graduating in 1984, and won a number of awards, including the National Award of the Greek Mathematical Society.[9] He graduated in the top rank of his class at the University of Athens Medical School, then attended Harvard University for his medical residency in internal medicine. He did a fellowship at Tufts University for infectious disease.[10]


From 1998 to 2010, Ioannidis was chairman of the Department of Hygiene and Epidemiology, University of Ioannina School of Medicine. In 2002, he became an adjunct professor at Tufts University School of Medicine.[11][9] He has also been president of the Society for Research Synthesis Methodology.[9] He is highly cited, having an h-index of 203 on Google Scholar in September 2020.[12]

He is now Professor of Medicine, Health Research and Policy, and of Biomedical Data Science at Stanford University School of Medicine and a professor, by courtesy, of Statistics at Stanford University School of Humanities and Sciences.[13][14] He is director of the Stanford Prevention Research Center, and co-director, along with Steven N. Goodman, of the Meta-Research Innovation Center at Stanford (METRICS).[15][16]

He was the editor-in-chief of the European Journal of Clinical Investigation from 2010 to 2019.[13]


Ioannidis's 2005 paper "Why Most Published Research Findings Are False"[17] is the most downloaded paper in the Public Library of Science.[13][18][19][verification needed] In the paper, Ioannidis says that most published research does not meet good scientific standards of evidence. Ioannidis has also described the replication crisis in diverse scientific fields including genetics,[20] clinical trials,[21] neuroscience,[22] and nutrition.[23] His work has aimed to identify solutions to problems in research, and on how to perform research more optimally.[24][25][non-primary source needed]

Ioannidis's research at Stanford focuses on meta-analysis and meta-research – the study of studies.[26] Thomas Trikalinos and Ioannidis coined the term Proteus phenomenon to describe tendency for early studies on a subject to find larger effect than later ones.[27]


In an editorial on STAT published March 17, 2020, Ioannidis called the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic a "once-in-a-century evidence fiasco" and wrote that lockdowns were likely an overreaction to unreliable data.[14] He estimated that the coronavirus could cause 10,000 U.S. deaths if it infected 1% of the U.S. population, and argued that more data was needed to determine if the virus would spread more.[28][5][14] The virus in fact eventually infected far more people, and would cause more than 600,000 deaths in the U.S.[29][28][5] Marc Lipsitch, Director of the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, objected to Ioannidis's characterization of the global response in a reply that was published on STAT the next day after Ioannidis's.[30]

In March 2020, Ioannidis tried to organize a meeting at the White House where he and colleagues would caution President Donald Trump against "shutting down the country for [a] very long time and jeopardizing so many lives in doing this," according to a proposal he submitted. The meeting did not come to pass, but on March 28, after Trump said he wanted the country reopened by Easter, Ioannidis wrote to his colleagues, "I think our ideas have inflitrated [sic] the White House regardless".[5]

Ioannidis widely promoted a study of which he had been co-author, "COVID-19 Antibody Seroprevalence in Santa Clara County, California", released as a preprint on April 17, 2020. It asserted that Santa Clara County's number of infections was between 50 and 85 times higher than the official count, putting the virus's fatality rate as low as 0.1% to 0.2%.[n 1][32][29] Ioannidis concluded from the study that the coronavirus is "not the apocalyptic problem we thought".[33] The message found favor with right-wing media outlets, but the paper drew criticism from a number of epidemiologists who said its testing was inaccurate and its methods were sloppy.[34][35][36] Writing for Wired, David H. Freedman said that the Santa Clara study compromised Ioannidis's previously excellent reputation and meant that future generations of scientists may remember him as "the fringe scientist who pumped up a bad study that supported a crazy right-wing conspiracy theory in the middle of a massive health crisis."[6]

It was later reported that authors of the study received $5,000 in funding from JetBlue's founder, which led to criticism over a potential conflict of interest.[37][38] In a guest opinion article in Scientific American, former colleagues of Ioannidis wrote that a legal firm had determined he had no financial conflict.[39] A review by the Stanford School of Medicine faulted the study for shortcomings including a public perception of a conflict of interest, but found "no evidence that any of the study funders influenced the design, execution, or reporting of the study".[28]

Amid controversy over his COVID-19 work and his frequent televised interviews, Ioannidis was harassed in memes and emails, including one falsely claiming his mother died of COVID-19. Some scientists and commentators voiced concerns over the backlash and the highly politicized scientific dispute in general.[28][40]

In March 2021 Ioannidis estimated the global infection fatality rate from COVID-19 at 0.15%, in an article in the European Journal of Clinical Investigation where he also wrote unusual ad hominem criticisms against a co-author of a higher estimate who had criticized his work on Twitter.[41][29]

Press coverageEdit

In 2010, David H. Freedman in The Atlantic stated in a special edition about "Brave Thinkers" that Ioannidis "may be one of the most influential scientists alive."[42][43]

In 2014, The Economist featured Ioannidis and Steven Goodman in an article on the Meta-Research Innovation Center at Stanford.[44]

In 2015, Ioannidis was profiled in the BMJ and described as "the scourge of sloppy science".[45]


Ioannidis is a member of the USA National Academy of Medicine,[46] of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts and an Einstein Fellow.[13] In 2019, Ioannidis was awarded the NIH's Robert S. Gordon, Jr. Lecture in Epidemiology.[47]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ On May 11, the study's authors revised the study with new figures stating the number of infections was 54 times higher than the official count.[31][29]


  1. ^ wikt:el:Ιωάννης
  2. ^ wikt:el:Ιωαννίδης.
  3. ^ Browse the 'Best in Class' articles from PLOS – Top Views, Public Library of Science, retrieved 15 October 2020
  4. ^ Ioannidis, John P. A. (30 August 2005), "Why Most Published Research Findings Are False", PLOS Medicine, 2 (8): e124, doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0020124, PMC 1182327, PMID 16060722, 3,128,135 View
  5. ^ a b c d Lee, Stephanie M. "An Elite Group of Scientists Tried to Warn Trump Against Lockdowns in March". BuzzFeed News. Retrieved 2020-07-26.
  6. ^ a b David H. Freedman (1 May 2020). "A Prophet of Scientific Rigor—and a Covid Contrarian". Wired.
  7. ^ "In the coronavirus pandemic, we're making decisions without reliable data". STAT. 2020-03-17. Retrieved 2021-06-10.
  8. ^ John Ioannidis, Harvard School of Public Health.
  9. ^ a b c Ioannidis, John P.A. "Curriculum Vitae" (PDF). UoI. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 21, 2011. Retrieved November 4, 2010.
  10. ^ Freedman, David H. (2010). Wrong: Why Experts Keep Failing Us. Little, Brown & Co. ISBN 978-0-316-02378-8. Born in 1965 in the United States to parents who were both physicians, he was raised in Athens, where he showed unusual aptitude in mathematics and snagged Greece's top student math prize.
  11. ^ "John P.A. Ioannidis". Department of Hygiene and Epidemiology, University of Ioannina School of Medicine. Retrieved December 31, 2008.
  12. ^ Aguillo, Isidro F. (September 2020). "Highly Cited Researchers (h>100) according to their Google Scholar Citations public profiles". Retrieved January 31, 2021.
  13. ^ a b c d "John P.A. Ioannidis". Stanford Profiles. Retrieved April 24, 2020.
  14. ^ a b c "A fiasco in the making? As the coronavirus pandemic takes hold, we are making decisions without reliable data". Stat. March 17, 2020. Retrieved April 26, 2020.
  15. ^ "John P. A. Ioannidis". CAP Profiles. Stanford School of Medicine. Retrieved May 24, 2014.
  16. ^ "Prevention Research Center". Stanford School of Medicine. Retrieved May 24, 2014.
  17. ^ a b Ioannidis, J. P. A. (2005). "Why Most Published Research Findings Are False". PLOS Medicine. 2 (8): e124. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0020124. PMC 1182327. PMID 16060722.
  18. ^ "Highly Cited Researchers". Retrieved September 17, 2015.
  19. ^ Robert Lee Hotz (September 14, 2007). "Most Science Studies Appear to Be Tainted By Sloppy Analysis". Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company. Retrieved 2016-12-05.
  20. ^ Ioannidis, John P. A.; Ntzani, Evangelia E.; Trikalinos, Thomas A.; Contopoulos-Ioannidis, Despina G. (November 1, 2001). "Replication validity of genetic association studies". Nature Genetics. 29 (3): 306–309. doi:10.1038/ng749. ISSN 1061-4036. PMID 11600885. S2CID 6742347.
  21. ^ Ebrahim, Shanil; Sohani, Zahra N.; Montoya, Luis; Agarwal, Arnav; Thorlund, Kristian; Mills, Edward J.; Ioannidis, John P. A. (September 10, 2014). "REanalyses of randomized clinical trial data". JAMA. 312 (10): 1024–1032. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.9646. ISSN 0098-7484. PMID 25203082.
  22. ^ Button, Katherine S.; Ioannidis, John P. A.; Mokrysz, Claire; Nosek, Brian A.; Flint, Jonathan; Robinson, Emma S. J.; Munafò, Marcus R. (May 1, 2013). "Power failure: why small sample size undermines the reliability of neuroscience". Nature Reviews Neuroscience. 14 (5): 365–376. doi:10.1038/nrn3475. ISSN 1471-003X. PMID 23571845.
  23. ^ Ioannidis, John P. A. (2018-09-11). "The Challenge of Reforming Nutritional Epidemiologic Research". JAMA. 320 (10): 969–970. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.11025. ISSN 0098-7484. PMID 30422271.
  24. ^ Begley, C. Glenn; Ioannidis, John P. A. (January 2, 2015). "Reproducibility in science: improving the standard for basic and preclinical research". Circulation Research. 116 (1): 116–126. doi:10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.114.303819. ISSN 1524-4571. PMID 25552691.
  25. ^ Ioannidis, John P. A. (October 21, 2014). "How to Make More Published Research True". PLOS Med. 11 (10): e1001747. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001747. PMC 4204808. PMID 25334033.
  26. ^ Joan O’C. Hamilton (2012), "Something Doesn't Add Up", Stanford Magazine
  27. ^ Handbook of Meta-analysis in Ecology and Evolution, Princeton University Press, 2013, p. 240, ISBN 9780691137292
  28. ^ a b c d Jamison, Peter (December 16, 2020). "A top scientist questioned virus lockdowns on Fox News. The backlash was fierce". The Washington Post.
  29. ^ a b c d "What the heck happened to John Ioannidis? | Science-Based Medicine". 2021-03-29. Retrieved 2021-03-31.
  30. ^ Lipsitch, Marc (March 18, 2020). "We know enough now to act decisively against Covid-19. Social distancing is a good place to start".
  31. ^ Ting, Eric (2020-05-12). "Researchers adjust results of startling Santa Clara antibody study". SF Gate. Retrieved 2020-08-08.
  32. ^ Mallapaty, Smriti (2020-04-17). "Antibody tests suggest that coronavirus infections vastly exceed official counts". Nature. doi:10.1038/d41586-020-01095-0. PMID 32303734. S2CID 215810316.
  33. ^ McCormick, Erin (23 April 2020). "Why experts are questioning two hyped antibody studies in coronavirus hotspots". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 November 2020.
  34. ^ VogelApr. 21, Gretchen; 2020; Pm, 6:30 (2020-04-21). "Antibody surveys suggesting vast undercount of coronavirus infections may be unreliable". Science | AAAS. Retrieved 2020-11-25.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  35. ^ Schulson, Michael (24 April 2020). "A Respected Science Watchdog Raises Eyebrows". Undark Magazine.
  36. ^ "Why unreliable tests are flooding the coronavirus conversation". National Geographic. 2020-05-06. Retrieved 2020-11-25.
  37. ^ Lee, Stephanie. "JetBlue's Founder Helped Fund A Stanford Study That Said The Coronavirus Wasn't That Deadly". Buzzfeed. Retrieved 30 May 2020.
  38. ^ Landsverk, Gabby. "A controversial study on coronavirus was partly funded by an airline founder who's criticized lockdowns, according to a new investigation from BuzzFeed News". Business Insider. Retrieved 30 May 2020.
  39. ^ Brownlee, Jeanne Lenzer,Shannon. "The COVID Science Wars". Scientific American. Retrieved 2020-12-01.
  40. ^ "The Herd Immunity Taboo". Tablet Magazine. 2020-05-20. Retrieved 2021-03-29.
  41. ^ Ioannidis, John P. A. (2021). "Reconciling estimates of global spread and infection fatality rates of COVID-19: an overview of systematic evaluations". European Journal of Clinical Investigation. 51 (5): e13554. doi:10.1111/eci.13554. ISSN 1365-2362. PMID 33768536.
  42. ^ Freedman, David H. (2010-10-04). "Lies, Damned Lies, and Medical Science". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2020-08-26.
  43. ^ "November 2010 Issue". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2021-03-31.
  44. ^ "Combating bad science: Metaphysicians". The Economist.
  45. ^ Ioannidis, J. (2015). "John Ioannidis: Uncompromising gentle maniac". BMJ. 351: h4992. doi:10.1136/bmj.h4992. ISSN 1756-1833. PMID 26404555. S2CID 10953475.
  46. ^ "National Academy of Medicine Elects 85 New Members". National Academy of Medicine. 15 October 2018. Retrieved 2 May 2019.
  47. ^ "2019 Awardee". Office of Disease Prevention. Retrieved 22 April 2020.

External linksEdit