Reproducibility Crisis in Science: A Discussion of the Disregard of ARRIVE Guidelines and Other Shortfalls of Pre-Clinical Research Reporting
CitationKnox, Christopher. 2020. Reproducibility Crisis in Science: A Discussion of the Disregard of ARRIVE Guidelines and Other Shortfalls of Pre-Clinical Research Reporting. Master's thesis, Harvard Extension School.
AbstractScience is moving forward at an unmatched pace in today’s society with technological advances allowing scientists to complete research which only a decade ago would have seemed like something out of a science-fiction novel. As economic, technological and computational advances allow us to design and apply these new tools toward medical advancement and innovation, are our foundations in the scientific method, methods documentation, and experimental design in the academic research environment being implemented to the fullest of their potential? Lack of reproducibility surrounding the preclinical research is trending. Problems with reproducibility in have become a recurrent announcement that produced paper retractions after paper retraction, the reason behind these retractions is vast including but not exclusive to, poor study design, improper statistical analysis (underpowered studies) and misleading or omitted instruction in the methods section (missing key procedural instructions and/or using unsuitable reagents). We can only hope that the assumption that most of these irreproducible studies are being reported in error but without malice intent.
Nevertheless, the data are wrong and resources were and are being wasted. Under the assumption that the issues with the unreliable research come from poor quality data and not unreliable scientists, we have to ask ourselves what we can do to improve our reports and ensure that what we are reporting is true. This translational failure has become very troubling for executives, scientists, investors, and taxpayers. There has to be a better system for proper reporting study findings and methods. Once implemented this system should help alleviate the financial, time and trust which currently presents a significant issue.
Herein, we will use data collected through an anonymous survey which will allow us to gain a better understanding of current best practices, knowledge, and implementation of the ARRIVE method, reporting best practices. Moreover, this survey may allow us to understand why the ARRIVE method is not gaining traction by investigators during reporting. Finally, we will discuss potential areas in which peer-review journals can help improve reporting, (ex. instituting a set of study design questions that must be answered before manuscript publication or guaranteed publication acceptance following the publication of study design to help report both positive and negative data outcomes. Academic science is paramount to the development of novel scientific approaches, as such, we must ensure that the data produced and reported are of the highest possible quality. Further, we must seal potential gaps in reporting the key elements as defined by the ARRIVE method helping to ensure the highest possible quality reporting.
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