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Fields & Applications Pharma & Biopharma

Who’s to Blame for the Reproducibility Crisis?

Earlier this year, in this very magazine (1), I described the apparent lack of reproducibility in today’s scientific literature, especially in the fields of biology, biomedicine and/or analytical science. But who is to blame? And what can we do to turn the tide?

First – a technical point: using antibodies of a commercial nature can scupper reproducibility before an experiment even begins. It’s likely that researchers with limited control over how their antibodies are generated are simply unaware that such reagents are not reproducibly manufactured, packaged or shipped. Neither the manufacturers nor users of such reagents are performing QC or QA to demonstrate reproducibility in the final antibodies. Thus, we can apportion some blame to those manufacturing the reagents; however, anyone versed in analytical method validation (AMV) will know that QC procedures require demonstration of reproducibility (method robustness and ruggedness). It appears that this is rarely done for most biochemical, biological, immunological, biomedical and related studies. What about analytical studies?

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About the Author

Ira Krull

Ira S Krull is Professor Emeritus, Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Northeastern University, Boston, USA.

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