Public Release: 

Money back guarantees for non-reproducible results?

BMJ

There are better solutions to the "reproducibility crisis" in research, according to an editorial published today.

Should an academic institution refund its financial payment if the basic science or pre-clinical results prove to be irreproducible?

Such an "incentive-based approach" for improving data reproducibility was recently proposed by a senior executive at Merck, although the idea is said not to represent the company's position.

But in an editorial published by The BMJ today, Eric Topol, Director of Scripps Translational Science Institute in California, argues that there are better solutions to the "reproducibility crisis" in research.

He discusses the problems of irreproducibility in biomedical research -- and says what is missing is the deep commitment -- across academia and the life science industry -- for open science and open data.

"When we start to see all the protocol, prespecified hypotheses, and raw data available for review, along with full disclosure of methods and analyses and what, if anything, changed along the course of experiments, be it at the bench or in clinical trials, we'll have made substantive progress," he writes.

"Until we develop the right system, we don't need or want money back guarantees on research reproducibility," he adds. But concludes: "I'd be interested to pick up on that refund offer for my medications or any medical care that doesn't work."

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