Discussions of research integrity and quality have become mainstream in recent years, and there is increasing focus on innovations and ways of working that might help to promote more robust research and a positive research culture. This has been accompanied by a realization that efforts to improve research quality will require the coordination of activity at multiple levels – researchers, institutions, funders, publishers and more.
We are also beginning to see growing interest in these issues from national and supra-national agencies. The UK Government R&D Roadmap recognizes the value of open research practices in contributing to improving the culture of research, and open and transparent research is also a key part of the shared vision in the G7 Science and Technology Ministers’ Declaration on COVID-19, and more recently the G7 Research Compact.
In July 2021, the UK House of Commons Science and Technology Committee launched a call for evidence on reproducibility and research integrity, and in particular the roles different institutions play in this, with an emphasis on research funders, institutions, publishers and governments, as well as individual researchers. The context is focused on the UK, but much of the evidence is likely to be of wider relevance.
To provide a platform to share feedback on the reproducibility crisis with the wider scientific community
Following this call, BMC Research Notes has partnered with the UK Reproducibility Network to provide a platform to share feedback on the topic with the wider scientific community. The hope is that this will provide a mechanism for disseminating contributions to the Science and Technology Committee call more widely, as well as raising awareness of the call itself across the research community. To find out more about this initiative and how to contribute to it, please visit this website.
This is an exciting time. Not only are there numerous innovations that are being proposed, developed and introduced, but there is also a burgeoning meta-research community that is evaluating the impact of these – including potential unintended consequences. Coordinating this activity, and ensuring the voices of various stakeholders – in particular researchers themselves – are heard will be key.
The Science and Technology Committee call is a welcome contribution to this evolving debate. It will be fascinating to see the range of submissions that are made, and the recommendations that follow.