Commercial research antibodies are crucial tools in modern cell biology and biochemistry. In the USA some $2 billion a year are spent on them, but many are apparently not fit-for-purpose, and this may contribute to the 'reproducibility crisis' in biological sciences. Inadequate antibody validation and characterization, lack of user awareness, and occasional incompetence amongst suppliers have had immense scientific and personal costs. In this Opinion, I suggest some paths to make the use of these vital tools more successful. I have attempted to summarize and extend expert views from the literature to suggest that sustained routine efforts should made in: (1) the validation of antibodies, (2) their identification, (3) communication and controls, (4) the training of potential users, (5) the transparency of original equipment manufacturer (OEM) marketing agreements, and (5) in a more widespread use of recombinant antibodies (together denoted the 'VICTOR' approach).
Keywords: Antibodies; Reproducibility crisis; VICTOR.
© 2018. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.