New NPG measures promise to help improve transparency and reproducibility

Share this on social media:

Nature and the Nature Research journals are introducing new measures to improve the consistency and quality of reporting in the life sciences research they publish.

An editorial article in Nature highlights the problems that result from publishers exerting insufficient scrutiny and failing to publish enough information for other researchers to assess the reliability of results.

It also announces measures to improve procedures at the Nature journals, including systematically ensuring the reporting of key methodological details, increasing the space given to methods sections and examining statistics more closely.

Central to the initiative is a checklist that will prompt authors to disclose technical and statistical information in their submissions and encourage referees to consider aspects important for research reproducibility. The initiative focuses on a small number of often-incompletely reported elements of experimental and analytical design that are crucial to the interpretation of research results. It also consolidates several existing policies about data deposition and presentation.

In addition, the Nature journals will employ statisticians as consultants on certain papers, abolish length restrictions on methods sections and encourage authors to provide data underlying figures in papers.

The editorial concludes: 'Tackling these issues is a long-term endeavour that will require the commitment of funders, institutions, researchers and publishers.' It urges others to 'do whatever they can to improve research reproducibility'.