A Framework for Improving the Quality of Research in the Biological Sciences

The American Academy of Microbiology convened a colloquium to discuss problems in the biological sciences, with emphasis on identifying mechanisms to improve the quality of research. Participants from various disciplines made six recommendations: (i) design rigorous and comprehensive evaluation criteria to recognize and reward high-quality scientific research; (ii) require universal training in good scientific practices, appropriate statistical usage, and responsible research practices for scientists at all levels, with training content regularly updated and presented by qualified scientists; (iii) establish open data at the timing of publication as the standard operating procedure throughout the scientific enterprise; (iv) encourage scientific journals to publish negative data that meet methodologic standards of quality; (v) agree upon common criteria among scientific journals for retraction of published papers, to provide consistency and transparency; and (vi) strengthen research integrity oversight and training. These recommendations constitute an actionable framework that, in combination, could improve the quality of biological research.