Reproducibility in academic research is frequently mentioned in publications as a limitation of current scientific practices. As European research infrastructures facilitating the research process, European Research Infrastructure Consortia (ERICs) have a role to play in providing solutions to the research community and to increase the degree of reproducible and high quality science.
In February 2021, EATRIS organised a two-day inter-disciplinary workshop on the subject of “Research Quality and Reproducibility”. The workshop provided a wide range of stakeholders from academia, industry and policy-making with the opportunity to exchange best practices and explore challenges in the design and execution phase of research. Drawing on insightful contributions from speakers, participants and panel discussions at the workshop, Anne-Charlotte Fauvel (Head of EU Affairs at EATRIS) has written a report summarises the main points.
The report includes seven ways to increase research quality and reproducibility ranging from reporting, communications, quality management and funding among others.
The report makes clear that funders have an important role to play to accompany cultural changes and motivate researchers to improve their routine practices. The changes implemented by research funders such as the Wellcome Trust and the European Commission have seemed to show the path for other research funders in Europe, and globally. Funders can, for example, require best scientific practice in their eligibility criteria, and make the open sharing of research outputs the new normal, thus prompting research institutions to re-consider their institutional research culture strategy or their criteria for appointment and promotion. Furthermore, funders could consider funding research that helps to further identify and measure factors associated with reproducibility and the effectiveness of interventions to improve reproducibility, and fund confirmation studies.
The new report also proposes that research infrastructures have a decisive role to play in the future of research and should be supported accordingly by funders. As European and international access providers to state-of-the-art facilities, technologies, data, software or training for researchers, ERICs have pooled many existing research resources together and help accelerate research and innovation.
Taken together, the report makes clear that real change in this field can only be achieved through collaboration and significant contributions from all parties in the academic landscape. If researchers can actively take steps to increase reproducibility in their research, if RIs and funders can play their critical role, and we can find a way to improve science communication then this will ensure that the ‘credibility revolution’ has the best chance of making effective, impactful, sizeable and positive progress.
For more information, please contact Anne-Charlotte Fauvel, EATRIS Head of European Affairs, firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can view and download the report here.
This report has been published as part of the ERIC Forum Implementation Project, a Horizon2020 project which brings together 20 established European Research Infrastructure Consortia (ERICs) and 3 ERICs in preparation to strengthen their coordination and enhance their collaborations. ERIC Forum has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement N. 823798. Find out more about the ERIC Forum here.