Reporting research antibody use: how to increase experimental reproducibility

F1000Res. 2013 Jul 10;2:153. doi: 10.12688/f1000research.2-153.v2. eCollection 2013.


Research antibodies are used in a wide range of bioscience disciplines, yet it is common to hear dissatisfaction amongst researchers with respect to their quality. Although blame is often attributed to the manufacturers, scientists are not doing all they can to help themselves. One example of this is in the reporting of research antibody use. Publications routinely lack key details, including the host species, code number and even the company who supplied the antibody. Authors also fail to demonstrate that validation of the antibodies has taken place. These omissions make it harder for reviewers to establish the likely reliability of the results and for researchers to reproduce the experiments. The scale of this problem, combined with high profile concerns about experimental reproducibility, has caused the Nature Publishing Group to include a section on antibody information in their recent Reporting Checklist for Life Science Articles. In this commentary we consider the issue of reporting research antibody use and ask what details authors should be including in their publications to improve experimental reproducibility.

Grant support

ADC and MH are funded by a Higher Education Innovation Fund grant (#HIF36 Chalmers) from the University of Bath, Research Development and Support Office.