Introduction: The Challenge of Reproducibility

Science progresses by an iterative process whereby discoveries build upon a foundation of established facts and principles. The integrity of the advancement of knowledge depends crucially on the reliability and reproducibility of our published results. Although mistakes and falsification of results have always been an unfortunate part of the process, most viewed scientific research as self-correcting; the incorrect results and conclusions would inevitably be challenged and replaced with more reliable information. But what happens if the process is corrupted by systematic errors brought about by the misapplication of statistics, the use of unreliable reagents and inappropriate cell models, and the pressure to publish in the most selective venues? We may be facing this scenario now in areas of biomedical science in which claims have been made that a majority of the most important work in, for example, cancer biology is not reproducible in the hands of drug companies that would seek to rely on the biomedical literature for opportunities in drug discovery.