The MRC and a group of partner organisations have today published a report and joint statement about the reproducibility and reliability of research, and what can be done to improve them. Here, Jim Smith, MRC Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Strategy, thinks about how discussions of reproducibility offer us the opportunity to improve the way science is done.
This group is for sharing reproducibility related citeable resources within the Moore and Sloan Data Science Environments reproducibility working group effort.
Researchers tested the credibility of past investigations reaching the conclusion of a new study: scientific researches are not always reliable. Few of the past studies could be replicated showing that some researches are either too biased or too distinctive to make a statement in history.
A decade ago, John P.A. Ioannidis published a provocative and much-discussed paper arguing that most published research findings are false. It’s starting to look like he was right.
A study that sought to replicate 100 findings published in three prominent psychology journals has found that, across multiple criteria, independent researchers could replicate less than half of the original findings. In some cases this may call into question the validity of some scientific findings, but it may also point to the difficulty of conducting effective replications and achieving reproducible results.
Research findings advance science only if they are significant, reliable and reproducible. Scientists and journals must publish robust data in a way that renders it optimally reproducible. Reproducibility has to be incentivized and supported by the research infrastructure but without dampening innovation.