Senate Appropriators Worry About ‘Gold Standard’ of Research, Too
Posted at 10:09 a.m. on Aug. 1, 2014
House appropriators have worried
the “gold standard” of science — the ability to reproduce results — isn’t being met in a significant amount of recent research. It looks like Senate appropriators have the same concern, at least as it applies to some biomedical research.
The subcommittee report
accompanying a Senate Appropriations subcommittee-approved fiscal 2015 spending bill for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services and Education (which covers the National Institutes of Health) states that the Appropriations Committee is “deeply concerned with reports that some published NIH research cannot be easily reproduced.”
“While this does not necessarily negate findings, the lack of clear re-producibility undermines scientific credibility and progress,” the report goes on to state.
Earlier this year, the committee report
accompanying the fiscal 2015 House spending bill that covers the National Science Foundation (which funds non-medical science and engineering research) expressed similar worries about the “gold standard.”
By its own account the National Institutes of Health is the largest funding source
of medical research in the world and for the current fiscal year, the research agency has a roughly $30 billion budget. Earlier this year, Francis Collins, the head of the agency, and Lawrence A. Tabak, the NIH’s principal deputy director, wrote a piece in Nature
on their own concerns about the issue of reproducibility in biomedical research and actions the agency was taking or looking into.
The panel’s suggestions for the NIH:
The Committee encourages NIH to consider implementing best practices to facilitate the conduct of reproducible research. In particular, NIH should evaluate methods to encourage transparency in the reporting of methods and findings that would assist other scientists to replicate, validate, and extend previous research.