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Suggestions to Combat Irreproducible Research

There are a number of steps funders can take to combat the issue of research reproducibility, writes Oxford University's Dorothy Bishop in a guest post at Retraction Watch.

"[Irreproducibility] is bad news for funders; irreproducible research is a waste of money, and actually impedes scientific progress by filling the literature with irreproducible false-positive findings that, once published, never die," Bishop writes.

She notes that a recent report from the Academy of Medical Sciences found that there isn't any one cause of irreproducibility, and that institutions, publishers, and funders need to take a range of approaches to combat it.

In particular, Bishop says that funders need to "treat reproducibility as a key criterion for funding research." To that end, she makes six suggestions. She says funders should emphasize methodology; not penalize proposals whose reviewers give constructive feedback; require the registration of research protocols; ensure researchers are doing what they proposed to do; require open data; and link future funding to a record of publishing or depositing results.

She adds, though, that these suggestions have a catch: making life more tedious for researchers.

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