Rethinking research reproducibility

EMBO J. 2019 Jan 15;38(2):e101117. doi: 10.15252/embj.2018101117. Epub 2018 Dec 5.


“To boldly go where no man has gone before”! Exploring and innovating—isn't this why we are in science after all? But as exciting this may be, others must be able to confirm our results through competent replication. As Karl Popper famously put it: “Single occurrences that cannot be reproduced are of no significance to science” (Popper, 1935). However, despite its status as a founding principle of modern science, replication is often viewed as pedestrian and unoriginal. Academia rewards the explorer, not the replicator. Not surprisingly, the current biomedical literature is dominated by exploration, but results are rarely confirmed. But how many of our discoveries are robust and will hold up if others try to reproduce them?

MeSH terms

  • Biomedical Research*
  • Ethics, Research
  • Humans
  • Reproducibility of Results*