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Even Fewer

The Reproducibility Project: Cancer Biology is again scaling back its ambitions, according to Science.

The open-source journal eLife, the Center for Open Science, and Science Exchange kicked off the project in 2014 with the aim of replicating the key findings of 50 high-profile preclinical cancer studies that were published between 2010 and 2012. The RPCB effort came in the wake of increasing concerns that many scientific studies might not be reproducible.

But due to budget and time constraints, the project announced in 2015 it would instead focus on reproducing the results of 37 studies, and Science now reports the project is reducing that to 18 studies. The reason, it says, is again time and money.

"I wish we could have done more," Center for Open Science's Tim Errington tells Science. "There is an element of not truly understanding how challenging it is until you do a project like this."

The effort has led to a handful of publications, which showed mixed results. RPCB researchers reported being able to largely replicate two studies, possible replicated another two, and not replicate a fifth. But as Derek Lowe noted at In the Pipeline at the time, none of the papers "did what someone outside the sciences might have hoped for – that is, reproduced pretty much as written."