Research reproducibility


For some weeks ago Nature announced that from May and forward they will raise demands on how researcher’s write their articles, especially within Life Sciences. The background to this is the increasing number of research results which cannot be reproduced. Nature wants to improve the reliability of research results.

In other words, the researchers must write about their chosen methodology in as much detail as necessary and since Nature means that there are several ways to do experimental research, they are lifting the space restrictions on the methods section. They will also review the statistics more carefully and increase transparency so they encourage researchers to include their raw data. They have also created, in co-operation with researchers, a checklist on what should be included in the manuscript. Researches must describe methodological parapeters that can introduce bias. They even have a goal that you can get access to source data from the figure legend.

To share your raw data is something that the Swedish Research Counsil introduced last year when they started to demand a data publishing plan. They wrote then that is data collection makes for a significant part of the research project a data publishing plan must be attached. An example of a data publishing plan according to Swedish Research Counsil (in Swedish).

Nature writes also that this is a long-term endeavour which will need commitment of funders, institutions, researchers and publishers and that researchers need more training in statistics and other quantiative methods.

We can only agree.

Read more on Nature’s special issue on irreproducible research.

//Pieta Eklund