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PLoS Biol. 2016 Jan 4;14(1):e1002333. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1002333. eCollection 2016 Jan.

Reproducible Research Practices and Transparency across the Biomedical Literature.

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Department of Epidemiology, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, United States of America.
Department of Health Research and Policy, Stanford School of Medicine, Palo Alto, California, United States of America.
Meta-Research Innovation Center at Stanford, Stanford University, Stanford, California, United States of America.
Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, United States of America.
Office of Public Health Genomics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, United States of America.
Stanford Prevention Research Center, Department of Medicine, Stanford University, Stanford, California, United States of America.
Department of Statistics, Stanford University School of Humanities and Sciences, Stanford, California, United States of America.


There is a growing movement to encourage reproducibility and transparency practices in the scientific community, including public access to raw data and protocols, the conduct of replication studies, systematic integration of evidence in systematic reviews, and the documentation of funding and potential conflicts of interest. In this survey, we assessed the current status of reproducibility and transparency addressing these indicators in a random sample of 441 biomedical journal articles published in 2000-2014. Only one study provided a full protocol and none made all raw data directly available. Replication studies were rare (n = 4), and only 16 studies had their data included in a subsequent systematic review or meta-analysis. The majority of studies did not mention anything about funding or conflicts of interest. The percentage of articles with no statement of conflict decreased substantially between 2000 and 2014 (94.4% in 2000 to 34.6% in 2014); the percentage of articles reporting statements of conflicts (0% in 2000, 15.4% in 2014) or no conflicts (5.6% in 2000, 50.0% in 2014) increased. Articles published in journals in the clinical medicine category versus other fields were almost twice as likely to not include any information on funding and to have private funding. This study provides baseline data to compare future progress in improving these indicators in the scientific literature.

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