Building on the expertise of four subcommittees of its Science Policy Committee, the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) submitted feedback to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on its Principles and Guidelines for Reporting Preclinical Research. Released by NIH in November 2014, the Principles and Guidelines were developed by journal editors and NIH leadership seeking to identify opportunities to increase scientific rigor and enhance the reproducibility of NIH-funded research. Although appreciative of the need for initiatives to improve reporting of methodologies and results, FASEB’s comments highlighted several concerns, including incomplete coverage of the diversity of biomedical research and the potential for increased administrative burden for researchers and reviewers.
In its comments, FASEB highlighted the need to develop best practices for enhancing scientific rigor and increasing transparency. Noting that methods for reporting and sharing data vary by field, discipline, and research technique, FASEB recommended that NIH should facilitate community discussions about data standards and enhance awareness of these activities within the research community. FASEB also cautioned NIH about the need for the Principles and Guidelines to reflect the diversity of research and the inability of a “one-size-fits-all” approach to be applicable to all disciplines or research methodologies. The risk for increased administrative workload for both researchers submitting manuscripts and reviewers assessing them for publication was also highlighted in FASEB’s comments. As a Federation representing 27 scientific societies that publish 62 peer-reviewed journals, FASEB offered to assist NIH leadership in efforts to broaden the discussion of reproducibility within the research community.