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ResourcesHuman Research EthicsA controlled trial for reproducibility – Nature (Marc P. Raphael, et al | March 2020)

Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

A controlled trial for reproducibility – Nature (Marc P. Raphael, et al | March 2020)

Published/Released on March 10, 2020 | Posted by Admin on March 16, 2020 / , , , , ,
 


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For three years, part of DARPA has funded two teams for each project: one for research and one for reproducibility. The investment is paying off.

In 2016, the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) told eight research groups that their proposals had made it through the review gauntlet and would soon get a few million dollars from its Biological Technologies Office (BTO). Along with congratulations, the teams received a reminder that their award came with an unusual requirement — an independent shadow team of scientists tasked with reproducing their results.

If you want to do important research well, this is a great approach.  IF you could find someone to fund it.

Thus began an intense, multi-year controlled trial in reproducibility. Each shadow team consists of three to five researchers, who visit the ‘performer’ team’s laboratory and often host visits themselves. Between 3% and 8% of the programme’s total funds go to this independent validation and verification (IV&V) work. But DARPA has the flexibility and resources for such herculean efforts to assess essential techniques. In one unusual instance, an IV&V laboratory needed a sophisticated US$200,000 microscopy and microfluidic set-up to make an accurate assessment.
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These costs are high, but we think they are an essential investment to avoid wasting taxpayers’ money and to advance fundamental research towards beneficial applications. Here, we outline what we’ve learnt from implementing this programme, and how it could be applied more broadly.
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