UK Group Tackles Reproducibility in Research

Emily Makowski in The Scientist:

In 2016, a Nature survey of 1,576 researchers revealed that more than 70 percent of them  had tried and failed to reproduce another scientist’s experiments—and more than half failed to replicate their own. These and other recent findings on the lack of reproducibility in scientific research have inspired the creation of groups such as the UK Reproducibility Network (UKRN). Launched in March 2019, the UKRN is an interdisciplinary consortium that aims to tackle this issue in order to bolster research quality. Last month, 10 UK universities became part of the UKRN, joining a network that already includes stakeholders such as the Academy of Medical Sciences, Research Libraries UK, the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control, journals including Nature and PLOS, and local networks of researchers, reports Times Higher EducationThe Scientist spoke with Marcus Munafò, a biological psychologist at the University of Bristol and the chair of the UKRN’s steering group of researchers, about UKRN’s structure, activities, and future plans.

TS: There’s been a lot of talk about the reproducibility crisis over the past few years. Could you give our readers some background about what led to the creation of UKRN?

Marcus Munafò: I’m not sure I particularly like the crisis narrative. There’s been a lot of interest in whether or not the research that [people] do is as robust and replicable as it could be, and it’s healthy to reflect on whether or not we could do better. I think any enterprise should have some proportion of its effort invested in thinking about whether or not it can improve the way in which it works. So it’s much better to think of this in terms of that kind of framing.

More here.