Reproducible research: moving toward research the public can really trust

Ann Intern Med. 2007 Mar 20;146(6):450-3. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-146-6-200703200-00154. Epub 2007 Mar 5.


A community of scientists arrives at the truth by independently verifying new observations. In this time-honored process, journals serve 2 principal functions: evaluative and editorial. In their evaluative function, they winnow out research that is unlikely to stand up to independent verification; this task is accomplished by peer review. In their editorial function, they try to ensure transparent (by which we mean clear, complete, and unambiguous) and objective descriptions of the research. Both the evaluative and editorial functions go largely unnoticed by the public--the former only draws public attention when a journal publishes fraudulent research. However, both play a critical role in the progress of science. This paper is about both functions. We describe the evaluative processes we use and announce a new policy to help the scientific community evaluate, and build upon, the research findings that we publish.

MeSH terms

  • Biomedical Research / standards*
  • Conflict of Interest
  • Editorial Policies
  • Ethics, Research
  • Peer Review, Research
  • Periodicals as Topic / standards*
  • Publishing / standards*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Scientific Misconduct