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This Week in Science : Aug 25, 2017

In this week's Science, representatives from industry and academia discuss the need for cooperation between their respective fields to ensure reproducibility in scientific research. They highlight how the cultural differences between industry and academia can lead to irreproducibility, and how "incomplete communication and sharing of techniques, data, or materials interfere with independent validation or future investigations." They suggest ways in which industry may be more open about its research practices without compromising sensitive information, as well as approaches that universities and other institutions can take to ensure research quality. "Irreproducible research wastes time, money, and resources," they conclude. "Academic researchers, universities, and other institutions, industry, funding agencies, and editors all have a role to play in raising research standards and creating an environment of trust between communities."

Also in Science, a team of US and UK researchers publishes a study highlighting the role of diet in microbiota. By studying fecal samples from a group of hunter-gatherers in Tanzania whose diet undergoes significant seasonal changes, they identified an annual cyclic reconfiguration of these individuals' microbiomes in which some taxa become undetectable only to reappear in a subsequent season. By comparing the diet of this African community to data from 18 populations in 16 different countries with varying lifestyles, the researchers were able to show that the microbiota of many urbanized people is characteristic of a diet limited in plant-derived complex carbohydrates. "These data indicate that some dynamic lineages of microbes have decreased in prevalence and abundance in modernized populations," the investigators write.