Verifier – finding errors in research

Verifier is a powerful, efficient way of detecting flaws in previous research into difficult problems. A key point is that people tend to make the same types of mistake, regardless of the field in which they are working, and of how expert they are.

Jo and Gordon realised that if you know how to spot those errors, and how to check the accuracy of the information with which you are working, then you should be able to detect flaws in research swiftly and efficiently.

In our first test of concept, Gordon applied a ‘light’ version of Verifier to a problem which had defied the world’s best codebreakers for almost a century, a document known as the Voynich Manuscript. Within a few weeks he found a solution which previous researchers had missed. His findings were published in the leading peer-reviewed journal of historical cryptography Cryptologia, and in Scientific American.

Sue Gerrard subsequently applied Verifier to autism research, resulting in a paper in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.

Because Verifier is systematic, we anticipated it would be a slow method, but it revealed errors much more quickly than we’d expected. Verifier offers the opportunity to find significant new insights, swiftly and efficiently, into a wide range of major unsolved problems.