Acknowledging and Overcoming Nonreproducibility in Basic and Preclinical Research

March 14, 2017, Vol 317, No. 10, Pages 987-1090

Acknowledging and Overcoming Nonreproducibility in Basic and Preclinical Research
John P. A. Ioannidis, MD, DSc
JAMA. 2017;317(10):1019-1020. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.0549
In this Viewpoint, Ioannidis discusses the problem of nonreproducibility in biomedical research and proposes implementing reproducibility assessments to improve research practices.
The evidence for nonreproducibility in basic and preclinical biomedical research is compelling. Accumulating data from diverse subdisciplines and types of experimentation suggest numerous problems that can create a fertile ground for nonreproducibility.1 For example, most raw data and protocols are often not available for in-depth scrutiny and use by other scientists. The current incentive system rewards selective reporting of success stories. There is poor use of statistical methods, and study designs are often suboptimal. Simple laboratory flaws—eg, contamination or incorrect identification of widely used cell lines—occur with some frequency.