A paper published this month estimated that each year in the US about $28.2 billion, or half of the total spending on preclinical research, is used for preclinical studies that are not reproducible. “[T]he existence and propagation of one or more errors, flaws, inadequacies or omissions . . . that prevent replication of results” were considered to constitute irreproducibility. According to the paper’s authors, complete reproducibility is impossible and would both raise the cost of studies and decrease their numbers drastically. The causes of irreproducibility are often rooted in the lack of standards and best practices, which may manifest in study design, reagents and reference materials, lab protocols, and data analysis and reporting. Increasing reproducibility would lead to higher speed and efficiency in drug development. The paper recommends taking immediate action to improve study design, and biological reagents and reference materials, stating that the return on investment would be substantial. Actions would include training programs to establish and reinforce best practices, and adoption and documentation of validated reagents in studies.

Source: PLOS Biology

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