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The Reproducibility Initiative

Complete. Repeat? Initiative Gets $1.3 Million to Try to Replicate Cancer Studies

An effort launched last year to reproduce published research (or not) has scored $1.3 million to validate 50 major cancer biology studies. The Reproducibility Initiative announced in a press release that the money, from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, would be funneled to try and repeat landmark work published between 2010 and 2012. An item on Nature’s blog noted that the group will draw the studies from major journals, including Nature and Science. Researchers are aiming to complete the replication efforts within a year. PLOS ONE has pledged to publish work from the Reproducibility Initiative and make all results freely available.

The grant money means that the Reproducibility Initiative, founded by breast cancer biologist Elizabeth Iorns, can overcome one of its biggest hurdles: relying in part on authors to pay to have their work reproduced. Now, with this outside funding in hand, Iorns and her colleagues can pick and choose influential studies whose reproduction may be especially important.  As several scientists told Science last year when the initiative got off the ground, Iorns is tackling a significant problem in biomedical research: the fact that many published studies can’t be repeated, and that many researchers aren’t enthusiastic about simply replicating what someone else has already done. As she stated earlier this week, the new funding will be critical in “helping to institutionalize scientific replication.”

The work will be done through Science Exchange, which Iorns co-founded in 2011 and which will farm out the experiments to various providers, such as companies who subscribe to the portal.