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FASEB Presents Reproducibility Recommendations

There have been a number of efforts lately seeking to tackle the issue of reproducibility in science, and in a report called 'Enhancing Research Reproducibility,' the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology presents its own recommendations to promote the reproducibility and transparency of scientific research.

 Other groups have put together their own recommendations. In November 2014, the US National Institutes of Health and the journals Science and Nature introduced guidelines developed at a meeting they put on for reporting preclinical research. The principles they came up with stressed the need for stringent statistical analysis, clear methods reporting, and data sharing. Shortly thereafter, FASEB said those guidelines were premature, inflexible, and would require peer reviewers to deal with reams of paperwork, though it lauded the effort.

The organization now has developed its own set of about 15 recommendations. According to FASEB, these recommendations grew out of a series of meetings of delegates from FASEB member societies, other experts, and NIH representatives and FASEB community consensus.

"What began as a thought-provoking discussion of some very real challenges facing our community resulted in practical recommendations to help scientists begin to move the needle in their own labs and institutions," says Parker Antin, the FASEB president, in a statement. "We cannot take for granted the public's trust in science. It is time to enact policies and procedures that emphasize the tradition of rigor in research." 

Though the new FASEB recommendations focus on strategies for researchers who rely on mouse models and antibodies, they also include some broader suggestions.

In particular, the FASEB report notes that a lack adherence to good research practices likely contributes to irreproducibility. To combat that, it says research training should stress proper maintenance of lab notebooks, the critical review of experimental design, including variables, metrics, and data analysis, and the complete reporting of findings.

It also suggests the creation of a website to provide investigators with access to training and best practices resources, such as ones developed by NIH, professional societies, and research consortia.