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Scientific Rigour and Reproducibility

Science moves forward by corroboration – when researchers verify others’ results. Progress is faster when people waste less time pursuing false leads. No research paper can ever be considered to be the final word, but there are too many that do not stand up to further study.

There is growing alarm about results that cannot be reproduced.  Explanations include increased levels of scrutiny, complexity of experiments and statistics, and pressures on researchers. Journals, scientists, institutions and funders all have a part in tackling reproducibility. Nature has taken substantive steps to improve the transparency and robustness in what we publish, and to promote awareness within the scientific community. We hope that the articles contained in this collection will help.

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Comment and Reviews

Chemical probes and screening libraries can easily get mixed up or messed up, causing misleading results for unwary biologists.

Technology Feature | | Nature

Replicating our work took four years and 100,000 worms but brought surprising discoveries, explain Gordon J. Lithgow, Monica Driscoll and Patrick Phillips.

Comment | | Nature

Most high-throughput target discovery screens for glioblastoma have been limited to in vitro models with uncertain physiological relevance. Here, Jeremy Rich and colleagues perform two parallel RNA interference screens for transcriptional regulators, comparing an in vitro screen in cell lines to an in vivo screen that recapitulates the tumour microenvironment. They find several transcriptional elongation factors that are specifically required for glioblastoma cell survival in vivo, particularly the transcriptional pause release factor JMJD6 which is highly expressed in gliomas. This type of in vivo functional screen has the potential to uncover novel therapeutic targets for cancer that have not been identified in previous in vitro approaches.

News & Views | | Nature