Cancer biology reproducibility effort takes another step forward

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Cambridge, UK, Charlottesville, USA, & Palo Alto, USA – 10 December 2014

eLife has published the first papers from the Reproducibility Project: Cancer Biology.

First announced in October 2013 with $1.3 million in funding from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, The Reproducibility Project: Cancer Biology (RP:CB) aims to replicate key experimental findings in 50 high-profile cancer biology papers published between 2010 and 2012. The project is a partnership between the Center for Open Science, Science Exchange, and eLife.

Following an earlier effort by the Center for Open Science, in psychology research, the outputs of the cancer biology project are being published in two distinct phases. The first phase involves the production of a Registered Report – a novel publishing format that sets out how the replications will be performed, the reagents and protocols, the sample sizes, and the planned analyses. The replications will be performed by laboratories that are part of the Science Exchange network. The second phase is the publication of these results in a Replication Study. Both the Registered Report and the Replication Study are subject to eLife’s rigorous and consultative peer review process.

eLife has published the first three of these Registered Reports today, along with an editorial by Sean Morrison (Director of the Children's Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern in Dallas, Texas, and one of eLife’s Senior Editors), and an introduction to the project by the RP:CB core team and Brian Nosek (Center for Open Science and University of Virginia). The RP:CB team writes:

“The available evidence suggests that published research is less reproducible than assumed and desired. Perhaps because of an inflation of false positives and a culture of incentives that values publication over accuracy. It is vitally important to obtain transparent evidence about the reproducibility of scientific research.”

The first reports include:

  • Registered report: Melanoma genome sequencing reveals frequent PREX2 mutations, by Chroscinski, Sampey, Hewitt, and RP:CB, based on the publication by Berger et al. in Nature (2012).
  • Registered report: Widespread potential for growth-factor-driven resistance to anticancer kinase inhibitors, by Greenfield, Griner, and RP:CB, based on the publication by Wilson et al. in Nature (2012).
  • Registered report: Tumour micro-environment elicits innate resistance to RAF inhibitors through HGF secretion, by Blum, LaBarge, and RP:CB, based on the publication by Straussman et al. in Nature (2012).

“The editors of eLife will continue to look for appropriate ways to enhance the efficiency with which good science is published and bad science is corrected,” writes Morrison. “In the meantime, measuring the magnitude of the problem with efforts like the Reproducibility Project: Cancer Biology is an important step in the right direction.”

Read these and forthcoming publications from the Reproducibility Project: Cancer Biology on the eLife website at http://elifesciences.org/collections/reproducibility-project-cancer-biology. Learn more about the project and track progress through the Open Science Framework at https://osf.io/e81xl/wiki/home/.

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About eLife

eLife is a unique collaboration between the funders and practitioners of research to communicate ground-breaking discoveries in the life and biomedical sciences in the most effective way. The eLife journal is a platform for maximising the reach and influence of new discoveries and showcasing new approaches to the presentation, use, and assessment of research. eLife is supported by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Max Planck Society, and the Wellcome Trust. Learn more at www.elifesciences.org.

About the Center for Open Science

The Center for Open Science (COS) is a non-profit science and technology startup founded in 2013 to foster openness, integrity, and reproducibility of scientific research. COS pursues this mission through three primary activities: supporting metascience research, building community of stakeholders in science, and developing and maintaining a free and open source software infrastructure. The Open Science Framework (OSF), COS’s flagship product, is a web application that connects and supports the research workflow, enabling scientists to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of their research. Researchers can use OSF to collaborate, document, archive, share, and register research projects, materials, and data. Learn more at cos.io and osf.io.

About Science Exchange

Science Exchange is an online marketplace for scientific experiments. The Science Exchange network includes thousands of expert scientific experimental service providers including providers from 80+ of the top 100 U.S. research universities. The Science Exchange network is used to independently validate research reagents, results, and methods to ensure accuracy and reproducibility. The company has received an award from the Kauffman Foundation for Entrepreneurship and has received investment from Union Square Ventures, O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures, Y Combinator, and SV Angel. Learn more at www.scienceexchange.com.