Instead of arguing about whether results hold up, let’s push to provide enough information for others to repeat the experiments, says Philip Stark.
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
I was hired to ferret out errors and establish routines that promote rigorous research, says Catherine Winchester.
Tool to scrutinize research papers identifies mistakes in gene sequences.
Chemical probes and screening libraries can easily get mixed up or messed up, causing misleading results for unwary biologists.
Replicating our work took four years and 100,000 worms but brought surprising discoveries, explain Gordon J. Lithgow, Monica Driscoll and Patrick Phillips.
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.
Governments, funders and scientific communities must move beyond lip-service and commit to data-sharing practices and platforms.
Large analyses dredge up 'peripheral' genetic associations that offer little biological insight, researchers say.
China has a lucrative market for fake research reagents. Some scientists are fighting back.
Levi Garraway reflects on the three things that keep his compass true when the going gets tough.
Survey sheds light on the ‘crisis’ rocking research.
Leading voices in the reproducibility landscape call for the adoption of measures to optimize key elements of the scientific process.