When the research is not reproducible: the importance of author-initiated and institution-driven responses and investigations

TitleWhen the research is not reproducible: the importance of author-initiated and institution-driven responses and investigations
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsTang, BLuen
JournalAccountability in Research
Date Published2018
Publication Languageeng
ISBN Number08989621
KeywordsAuthorship , Betatrophin , NgAgo , pluripotent , research , STAP
AbstractImportant and potentially useful findings in the sciences are under more intense public scrutiny now more than ever. Other researchers in the field dive into replicating and expanding the findings while the media swamps the community and the public with peripheral reporting and analyses. How should authors and the hosting/funding institutions respond when other workers in the field could not reproduce or replicate their published results? To illustrate the importance of author-initiated and institution-driven investigations in response to outcries of research irreproducibility, I draw on comparisons between three recent and well-publicized cases in the life sciences: betatrophin, Stimulus-Triggered Acquisition of Pluripotency (STAP) cells, and Natronobacterium gregoryi Argonaute (NgAgo). Swift, transparent responses and investigations facilitate activation of the self-correcting mechanism of science and are likely also critical in preserving the community’s resources, public trust, and the reputation of the institutions and individuals concerned. Operational guidelines for “author and institutional responses” towards external reports of irreproducibility should therefore be in place for all research intensive institutions.
NotesTang, Bor Luen 1; Email Address: bchtbl@nus.edu.sg; Affiliations: 1: NUS Graduate School for Integrative Sciences and Engineering, Research Compliance and Integrity Office and Department of Biochemistry, National University of Singapore, Singapore; Issue Info: 2018, Vol. 25 Issue 5, p273; Thesaurus Term: RESEARCH institutes; Subject Term: RESEARCH ethics; Subject Term: RESEARCH personnel; Subject Term: AUTHORSHIP; Subject Term: PLURIPOTENT stem cells; Author-Supplied Keyword: Betatrophin; Author-Supplied Keyword: NgAgo; Author-Supplied Keyword: research ethics; Author-Supplied Keyword: research misconduct; Author-Supplied Keyword: research reproducibility; Author-Supplied Keyword: STAP cells; NAICS/Industry Codes: 541712 Research and Development in the Physical, Engineering, and Life Sciences (except Biotechnology); NAICS/Industry Codes: 541711 Research and Development in Biotechnology; NAICS/Industry Codes: 541720 Research and Development in the Social Sciences and Humanities; Number of Pages: 17p; Illustrations: 1 Chart; Document Type: Article