Diversity in science isn’t just about the workforce – it is about the research itself

By Natasha Karp When you hear the phrase “diversity in science”, you typically think about the efforts to create a diverse and inclusive scientific workforce.  However, it is also about the research we conduct.  For over twenty years [1] papers have been raising an issue that we have a sex bias as the research community […]

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Drug Discovery and Preclinical Drug Development – Have Animal Studies Really Failed?

  By Thomas Steckler and Malcolm Macleod  The ethics of the use of animals in research continue to be a matter for discussion, with a recent op-ed in the Journal of Translational Medicine arguing – on the grounds that non-human animals are quite different from “human animals” – that animal models can no longer be considered helpful in the development […]

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Making research more useful: minimal reporting standards for life scientists

By Malcolm Macleod (@Maclomaclee) As researchers, we hope that our research findings are useful – that they inform future research, or lead to changes in policy or practice. Different research designs provide different levels of proof, with experimental evidence generally providing better evidence than observational studies. Even within research designs, there are factors which might […]

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Navigating the maze together: a patient’s perspective

“The strength of a common agenda” – John Ioannidis, Stanford University Lost in the Maze? Navigating Evidence and Ethics in Translational Neuroscience, Herrenhausen Conference, Hannover, February 2018 By Rebecca Morrison Communication and Trust From the opening session, it was clear even to one for whom ‘translation’ hitherto had been the domain of moving from one language to another […]

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Academic Freedom or Jester’s License?

By Lucia Reuter (@LuciaReuter) Science is a self-regulating profession. It always has been and continues to be relatively free from external state legislation, because scientists – equipped with specialized and superior knowledge – are best fit to determine the rules of their game. This liberal view is so deeply embedded in many (western) societies, that it is also […]

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Remembering Doug Altman

By Zsanett Bahor “We need less research, better research, and research done for the right reasons” Read the first line of Doug Altman’s influential Editorial ‘The Scandal of Poor Medical Research’ in 1994, a publication, which later topped The British Medical Journal’s list of most important papers from the last twenty years. Incidentally, this statement […]

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“Lost in the Maze? Navigating Evidence and Ethics in Translational Neuroscience”: Herrenhausen Conference, Hannover, Germany 2018

By Sarah McCann ‘It is a veritable desert as far as favourable outcomes in neurological research are concerned’ –Jonathan Kimmelman, bioethicist The reasons behind our failure to translate preclinical efficacy to clinical benefit, and the ethical challenges associated with early phase clinical trials of these treatments were dissected and debated at Herrenhausen Palace in February. […]

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Why standardisation threatens reproducibility

BMJ Open Science encourages a number of initiatives to help the work that we publish be reproducible such as pre-submission manuscript checking, encouraging reporting guidelines, and asking authors to report the strengths and limitations of their experiments. However, reproducibility should also be considered at the study design stage. A recent study1 based on extensive preclinical data […]

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Registered Reports at BMJ Open Science: Making preclinical research match-fit for translation

By Chris Chambers, @chrisdc77 In 2015 the UK Academy Medical of Sciences published a landmark report documenting the current state of reproducibility in preclinical and biomedical research. The analysis makes for sobering reading. Preclinical science is littered with small, biased studies, underspecified procedures, and poor statistical methods, driven by perverse career incentives that prioritise quantity […]

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