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.

The science 'reproducibility crisis' – and what can be done about it

Reproducibility is the idea that an experiment can be repeated by another scientist and they will get the same result. It is important to show that the claims of any experiment are true and for them to be useful for any further research. However, science appears to have an issue with reproducibility. A survey by Nature revealed that 52% of researchers believed there was a "significant reproducibility crisis" and 38% said there was a "slight crisis". We asked three experts how they think the situation could be improved.

Research team presents a molecular switch so far unmatched in its reproducibility

The theoretical physicists Junior Professor Fabian Pauly and his postdoc Dr. Safa G. Bahoosh now succeeded in a team of experimental physicists and chemists in demonstrating a reliable and reproducible single molecule switch. The basis for this switch is a specifically synthesized molecule with special properties. This is an important step towards realising fundamental ideas of molecular electronics. The results were published in the online journal Nature Communications on 9 March 2017.

Preprint: Transparency, Reproducibility, and the Credibility of Economics Research

There is growing interest in enhancing research transparency and reproducibility in economics and other scientific fields. We survey existing work on these topics within economics, and discuss the evidence suggesting that publication bias, inability to replicate, and specification searching remain widespread in the discipline. We next discuss recent progress in this area, including through improved research design, study registration and pre-analysis plans, disclosure standards, and open sharing of data and materials, drawing on experiences in both economics and other social sciences. We discuss areas where consensus is emerging on new practices, as well as approaches that remain controversial, and speculate about the most effective ways to make economics research more credible in the future.

Publishing a reproducible paper

Adolescence is a period of human brain growth and high incidence of mental health disorders. In 2016 the Neuroscience in Psychiatry Network published a study of adolescent brain development which showed that the hubs of the structural connectome are late developing and are found in association cortex (https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1601745113). Furthermore these regions are enriched for genes related to schizophrenia. In this presentation Dr Kirstie Whitaker will demonstrate how this work is supported by open data and analysis code, and that the results replicate in two independent cohorts of teenagers. She will encourage Brainhack-Global participants to take steps towards ensuring that their work meets these standards for open and reproducible science in 2017 and beyond.