Reagent Validation to Facilitate Experimental Reproducibility

Curr Protoc Pharmacol. 2018 Jun;81(1):e40. doi: 10.1002/cpph.40. Epub 2018 May 16.


Many results reported in the biomedical research literature cannot be independently reproduced, undermining the basic foundations of science. This overview is intended for researchers who are committed to improving the quality and integrity of biomedical science by raising awareness of both the sources of irreproducibility, and activities specifically targeted to address the issue. The irreproducibility of biomedical research is due to a variety of factors, known and unknown, that markedly influence experimental outcomes. Among the known factors are inadequate training or mentoring, or experimenter incompetence. These may result in flawed experimental design and execution that reflect a lack of planning, leading to an underpowering of a study, an absence of appropriate controls, selective data analysis, inappropriate statistical analysis, and/or investigator bias or fraud. Another frequently overlooked source of irreproducibility is failure to ensure that the equipment used is performing up to manufacturer specifications. Failure to validate/authenticate the experimental reagents is another source of irreproducibility. These include compounds, cell lines, antibodies, and the animal models used in a study. This overview discusses how a lack of validation of research reagents negatively impact experimental reproducibility, and provides guidelines to avoid these pitfalls. © 2018 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Keywords: antibodies; cell lines; compounds; validation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies
  • Biomedical Research / standards*
  • Cell Line
  • Humans
  • Models, Animal
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations
  • RNA Probes
  • Reproducibility of Results*
  • Research Design


  • Antibodies
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations
  • RNA Probes