Professor of Pharmacology

University College London

David Colquhoun is a British pharmacologist at University College London (UCL). He has contributed to the general theory of receptor and synaptic mechanisms, and in particular the theory and practice of single ion channel function. He held the A.J. Clark chair of Pharmacology at UCL from 1985 to 2004, and was the Hon. Director of the Wellcome Laboratory for Molecular Pharmacology. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 1985 and an honorary fellow of UCL in 2004. Colquhoun runs the website DC's Improbable Science, which is critical of pseudoscience, particularly alternative medicine, and managerialism. Additional biographical details are available at

Colquhoun-2014-RS-Open-Science.pdf (simple simulations of t tests suggests that if you have observed p = 0.047 and claim a discovery there's a chance of at least 26% that it's a false positive.)

Colquhoun-2017-p-values-RSOS.pdf (the algebra behind the 2014 simulations.)

The False Positive Risk A Proposal Concerning What to Do About p Values.pdf ("The False Positive Risk A Proposal Concerning What to Do About p Values" An update of the 2017 paper. Includes an intuitive explanation of what happens with large samples (the Jeffreys-Lindley phenomenon) and a comparison of several different approaches to estimating the false positive risk.)

p-values-2019b-critique-rsos.190819.pdf (conclusions represented by current views) (The false positive risk: a proposal concerning what to do about p-values)

Additional publications: