Reproducibility in biomarker research and clinical development: a global challenge

According to a recent survey conducted by the journal Nature, a large percentage of scientists agrees we live in times of irreproducibility of research results [1]. They believe that much of what is published just cannot be trusted. While the results of the survey may be biased toward respondents with interest in the area of reproducibility, a concern is recognizable. Goodman et al. discriminate between different aspects of reproducibility and dissect the term into ‘material reproducibility’ (provision of sufficient information to enable repetition of the procedures), ‘results reproducibility’ (obtaining the same results from an independent study; formerly termed ‘replicability’) and ‘inferential reproducibility’ (drawing the same conclusions from separate studies) [2]. The validity of data is threatened by many issues, among others by poor utility of public information, poor protocols and design, lack of standard analytical, clinical practices and knowledge, conflict of interest and other biases, as well as publication strategy.