Initiatives to ensure scientific reproducibility in life-science research (M. Bissell Nature 503, 333–334; 2013) should demand strict standards, such as the use of only authenticated cell lines or the validation of commercially available antibodies. Setting guidelines for standards brings diverse stakeholders together and fosters an environment for adherence.

Carefully devised standards have underpinned advances in industries such as engineering and technology — from Wi-Fi to building bridges. It is time for the life-sciences community to catch up.