Reproducibility Initiative member reports critical finding about scientific reproducibility

September 5, 2013 | Posted by Team in Reproducibility |

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We are proud to say that our Reproducibility Initiative advisory board member Melissa Haendel is part of a critical paper published today that identifies insufficient information in scientific literature as a major barrier to reproducibility.

The study indicates that a central issue within the reproducibility crisis is the lack of detail in published studies.  Specifically, the study showed that 54 percent of resources documented in scientific literature were unidentifiable. The lack of specificity in published research poses a serious obstacle to other scientists replicating work from literature.

Haendel and her group studied almost 240 articles from more than 80 different journals which were chosen from a wide range of subjects including neuroscience, immunology, and general science. They developed a set of criteria to assess whether experiment information such as antibodies, model organisms, and cell lines were identifiable. That only around 50 percent of the information in the literature was identifiable illustrates the necessity for increased transparency in scientific publications.

“The stories we tell in scientific publications are not necessarily instructions for replication.” said Melissa Haendel, Ph.D., an ontologist and assistant professor in the Library and Department of Medical Informatics & Clinical Epidemiology at Oregon Health & Science University and senior author on the study.“This study illuminates how if we aim to use the literature as the scientific basis for reproducibility, then we have to get a lot more specific.”

Congratulations to Melissa Haendel for leading the way for reproducibility! You can read entire study for free at PeerJ.

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