Publishers are redoubling their commitment to transparency and reproducibility — but they can’t bring about change alone.
In 2013, Nature began asking the authors of life-sciences papers to provide extra information in a bid to tackle the pressing problem of poor reproducibility in research. According to one survey of Nature authors conducted in 2016–17, 86% of respondents considered poor reproducibility to be a growing challenge in the life sciences.
Publisher initiatives like Nature‘s MDAR are undoubtedly improving the transparency and reproducibility of science, but as this thoughtful piece posits, research funding bodies and host institutions have key roles to play as well. Good research integrity practice needs to involve more than complying with national standards like the Australian Code.
Such a checklist, which is provided to peer reviewers and published with each life-sciences paper, has helped to improve transparency in the reporting of research1,2. But editors from many journals and researchers recognize that there is still work to be done.
In 2017, a group met to discuss how such a systematic approach to transparency and reproducibility could be improved and adopted across more journals. The result is the MDAR (Materials Design Analysis Reporting) Framework, which has just been published3.