Reproducibility Initiative receives $1.3M grant to validate 50 landmark cancer studies

October 16, 2013 | Posted by Elizabeth in Reproducibility |


Over a year ago, I began my mission to improve scientific reproducibility. I created the Reproducibility Initiative with PLOS, figshare, and Mendeley to provide a mechanism for scientists to independently replicate findings and be rewarded for doing so. We have made great strides in our effort such as the validation of more than 1000 antibodies for antibodies-online. However, today is the day that I have made progress very near and dear to my heart. The Reproducibility Initiative has received a $1.3 million grant from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation to validate 50 landmark cancer biology studies.

As some of you may know, in my life before Science Exchange I researched breast cancer. There were several times during the course of my research where a study I relied on failed to be reproduced.

I believe the lack of reproducibility in cancer studies is a major obstacle in the development of viable therapies to cure cancer. The funding will be instrumental in not only verifying landmark cancer studies, but also helping to institutionalize scientific replication.

We are pleased to be working with The Center for Open Science who is administering the funds as part of their mission to incentivize the replication of important scientific studies and has developed the similarly named Reproducibility Project. The Reproducibility Project is a crowd-sourced effort by researchers to identify the predictors of reproducibility in a large sample of published studies in psychological science.

With this funding, the Reproducibility Initiative will develop an integrated collaboration with the Reproducibility Project. “The integration of these two projects is an opportunity to understand and address reproducibility challenges that are shared across scientific disciplines,” said Brian Nosek, director of the Center for Open Science.

The key experimental findings from each cancer study will be replicated by experts from the Science Exchange network according to best practices for replication established by the Center for Open Science through the Center’s Open Science Framework, and the impact of the replications will be tracked on Mendeley’s research analytics platform. All of the ultimate publications and data will be freely available online, providing the first publicly available complete dataset of replicated biomedical research and representing a major advancement in the study of reproducibility of research.

Stuart Buck, Director of Research at the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, said that the Reproducibility Initiative “may eventually serve as a model for other funding agencies and patient groups, with the ultimate goal of improving cancer treatment through more rigorous and reliable science.”

“This project is key to solving an issue that has plagued scientific research for years,” said Dr. William Gunn, my co-director for the Reproducibility Initiative. “The funding is a game-changer in our mission to improve scientific reproducibility.”

About the author

Elizabeth Iorns is Co-Founder & CEO of Science Exchange. Elizabeth conceived the idea for Science Exchange while an Assistant Professor at the University of Miami and as CEO she drives the company’s vision, strategy and growth. She is passionate about creating a new way to foster scientific collaboration that will break down existing silos, democratize access to scientific expertise and accelerate the speed of scientific discovery. Elizabeth has a B.S. in Biomedical Science from the University of Auckland, a Ph.D. in Cancer Biology from the Institute of Cancer Research in London, and conducted postdoctoral research in Cancer Biology from the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine where her research focused on identifying mechanisms of breast cancer development and progression.

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