An incentive-based approach for improving data reproducibility

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Science Translational Medicine  27 Apr 2016:
Vol. 8, Issue 336, pp. 336ed5
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aaf5003

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  • RE: An ancedotal telling of poor research quality and possible solution

    An experience in an Australian university echos the statements of widespread cultural problems. While reputation damage may lead some scientists to put emphasis on reproducibility, these are rare. Many senior researchers who already have established track records and are in the twilight years of their career simply do not care and will not investigate and/or correct/retract published studies if they suspect them to be flawed. Many scientists do not want to invest the time or resources into exploring possible problems with assumptions behind the data and it returns to their own moral code to publish or not. Unfortunately, there appears to be little accountability and recourse for others to take when they suspect reproducibility problems. Australian universities mainly deal with these issues through self-governance and there is well-documented issues with obtaining access to public funding to reproduce studies. While an overhaul to reporting reproducibility issues with penalties for repeat offenders could go a long way to improving the problem there are alternatives.

    It is interesting to note that the cost estimates of reproducing studies of $500 000 to $2 000 000 align closely with basic science funding from the Australian NHRMC towards individual 3-5 year research grants in biomedical research. Many early-mid career post-doctoral researchers do not have the track record to regularly obtain similar funding and many studies have documented the high rates of attrition...

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    Competing Interests: None declared.

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