Challenges in irreproducible research

No research paper can ever be considered to be the final word, and the replication and corroboration of research results is key to the scientific process. In studying complex entities, especially animals and human beings, the complexity of the system and of the techniques can all too easily lead to results that seem robust in the lab, and valid to editors and referees of journals, but which do not stand the test of further studies. Nature has published a series of articles about the worrying extent to which research results have been found wanting in this respect. The editors of Nature and the Nature life sciences research journals have also taken substantive steps to put our own houses in order, in improving the transparency and robustness of what we publish. Journals, research laboratories and institutions and funders all have an interest in tackling issues of irreproducibility. We hope that the articles contained in this collection will help.

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  • Code share

    Papers in Nature journals should make computer code accessible where possible.

    Nature 514, 536 ( )

  • Further confirmation needed

    A new mechanism for independently replicating research findings is one of several changes required to improve the quality of the biomedical literature.

    Nature Biotechnology 30, 806 ( )

  • Error prone

    Biologists must realize the pitfalls of work on massive amounts of data.

    Nature 487, 406 ( )

  • Must try harder

    Too many sloppy mistakes are creeping into scientific papers. Lab heads must look more rigorously at the data — and at themselves.

    Nature 483, 509 ( )


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