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Concerns around reproducibility and replicability in biomedical research have led to several initiatives – from researchers, funding agencies and journals – to improve the way experiments are designed and analyses are reported (Ioannidis, 2014). In August 2016, eLife introduced a Transparent Reporting Form to encourage authors to provide detailed information within their submission about sample size estimation, replicates, statistical reporting and source data (see "Scientific publishing: Transparent reporting of research results in eLife").
To date, authors’ answers to this document have been available to editors and peer reviewers, but we are now taking this a step further and we will start to publish the completed forms alongside the published paper. The forms will be published in the format provided by the authors (Word or PDF).
We have designed the form to be as short as possible. We also understand that the questions in the form may not apply in some circumstances, for instance in the case of computational or highly theoretical manuscripts.
According to Detlef Weigel (Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology), Deputy Editor for eLife, who was involved in the development of the form with Dawn Teare from the University of Sheffield:
"I am concerned about increasing perception by the public that scientific research is often not replicable. I believe that this generally is not accurate. Instead, failure to replicate a study is often due to missing information on how the study was conducted exactly, and what the statistical underpinnings of the conclusions of the study were. Our Transparent Reporting Form will help to close this apparent gap."
We believe that more complete descriptions of study and experimental design will help to improve the standards of methodological reporting, and contribute towards others being able to reproduce and build upon the results.
We welcome comments and questions from researchers. You can contact us at editorial [at] elifesciences [dot] org.