Improving the trustworthiness, usefulness, and ethics of biomedical research through an innovative and comprehensive institutional initiative

PLoS Biol. 2020 Feb 11;18(2):e3000576. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.3000576. eCollection 2020 Feb.


The reproducibility crisis triggered worldwide initiatives to improve rigor, reproducibility, and transparency in biomedical research. There are many examples of scientists, journals, and funding agencies adopting responsible research practices. The QUEST (Quality-Ethics-Open Science-Translation) Center offers a unique opportunity to examine the role of institutions. The Berlin Institute of Health founded QUEST to increase the likelihood that research conducted at this large academic medical center would be trustworthy, useful for scientists and society, and ethical. QUEST researchers perform "science of science" studies to understand problems with standard practices and develop targeted solutions. The staff work with institutional leadership and local scientists to incentivize and support responsible practices in research, funding, and hiring. Some activities described in this paper focus on the institution, whereas others may benefit the national and international scientific community. Our experience, approaches, and recommendations will be informative for faculty leadership, administrators, and researchers interested in improving scientific practice.

MeSH terms

  • Academic Medical Centers / economics
  • Academic Medical Centers / organization & administration
  • Academic Medical Centers / standards*
  • Biomedical Research / ethics
  • Biomedical Research / standards*
  • Germany
  • Humans
  • Information Dissemination
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Program Evaluation
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Research Personnel / ethics
  • Research Personnel / standards
  • Translational Research, Biomedical / ethics
  • Translational Research, Biomedical / standards

Grants and funding

The authors received no specific funding for this work.