NIH Announces Strategy to Improve Reproducibility of Funded Research

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NIH Announces Strategy to Improve Reproducibility of Funded Research

Contributor: Sherry Ward, AltTox

Source: http://www.niaid.nih.gov/researchfunding/newsletter/2015/Pages/0701.aspx#itn01

“In an effort to advance the highest level of scientific integrity, NIH has unveiled a strategy to improve the reproducibility of the research it funds in two June 9, 2015 Guide notices: Enhancing Reproducibility Through Rigor and Transparency and Consideration of Sex as a Biological Variable in NIH-Funded Research.

The notices announce NIH’s intention to encourage greater consideration of scientific premise, rigorous experimental design, and consideration of sex and other relevant biological variables by providing new guidelines for applicants and reviewers. The changes will be incorporated into the SF 424 (Research and Related) Application Guide and funding opportunity announcements beginning this fall and will be in effect for applications submitted for the January 25, 2016 due date and beyond.

In short, you will need to show in the Research Strategy section of your application that you’ve critically evaluated the scientific premise and rigor of your research, and considered sex and all other relevant biological variables. You will report what you have done to authenticate key biological and chemical resources in a new attachment under the Other Research Plan sections.

To learn more about NIH’s implementation plan, read Rigor and Reproducibility, Rigor and Reproducibility Frequently Asked Questions, and the January 9, 2015 Rock Talk blog post “Enhancing Reproducibility in NIH-Supported Research Through Rigor and Transparency.”

The Frequently Asked Questions page contains useful information to questions such as the following:

Will the policy on Consideration of Sex as a Biological Variable (SABV) require that more animals be used, or that equal numbers of female and male animals be included in research studies?

No. NIH will not require any specific research design or method; rather, NIH expects that applicants will address the possible influence of sex and other relevant biological variables in the design and analysis of biomedical research with animals. The state of knowledge in a particular scientific area and the specific research question will shape study design and the consideration of SABV and other relevant variables. These factors may or may not support the use of equal numbers of females and males.

How should authentication of key biological and/or chemical resources be addressed in grant applications?

Describe the methods you plan to use to authenticate your key resources. As consensus guidelines emerge for different types of key resources (e.g., cell lines, antibodies, etc.), state which guidelines you plan to follow. Investigators may supply one description that they will use for a number of resources in the same category (e.g., cell lines). Actual data demonstrating that authenticated resources are available for the proposed research are not needed in the grant application.

Note that comments/feedback to NIH can be provided on this page: Enhancing Reproducibility in NIH-Supported Research Through Rigor and Transparency.