There has been a growing awareness in recent years that some of the research literature is not reproducible. It is particularly important in biomedical research that preclinical studies are rigorously designed and reproducible, and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) are therefore placing increasing emphasis on enhancing reproducibility through rigor and transparency in NIH-funded research and research training. Resources for training in rigor and reproducibility are included in this website along with RCR materials.

The University of Florida is hosting Research Reproducibility 2020, the third in a series of interdisciplinary Research Reproducibility conferences aimed to increase the reproducibility and replicability of the research on our campuses. This conference is sponsored by the Office of Research Integrity, and will be hosted in a virtual format on December 2-3, 2020. Check out the conference website for more information about the agenda, speakers, and conference registration!

Scientific rigor is defined by the NIH as the “strict application of the scientific method to ensure unbiased and well-controlled experimental design, methodology, analysis, interpretation and reporting of results.”  The application of rigor ensures robust and unbiased experimental design, methodology, analysis, interpretation, and reporting of results. When a result can be reproduced by multiple scientists, it validates the original results and readiness to progress to the next phase of research. This is especially important for clinical trials in humans, which are built on studies that have demonstrated a particular effect or outcome.

NIH Infographics: Enhancing Reproducibility Guidelines; Enhancing Reproducibility in NIH Applications Resource Chart

See the Rigor & Reproducibility resources and Rigor & Reproducibility training web pages for more information. See also the NINDS webpage for “Rigor Champions and Resources“.

NIH requirements for rigor & reproducibility training are detailed in NIH notice NOT-OD-20-033 and NOT-OD-090, and summarized below. Recommended plans for training in rigor & reproducibility for NIH applications will be available by May 2020.

Type of ApplicationChanges
Institutional Research Training (T)
and
Institutional Career Development (K)
The Program Plan section of the application will be expected to include a description of how the program and faculty will provide training in rigorous research design and relevant data science and quantitative approaches. There is a new requirement to include a Plan for Instruction in Methods for Enhancing Reproducibility attachment.
Individual Fellowships (F)In describing their training goals and objectives in the Program Plan attachment, fellowship candidates will be expected to address, as applicable, any new research skills they plan to acquire in the areas of rigorous research design, experimental methods, quantitative approaches, and data analysis and interpretation. In the Research Strategy section of the Program Plan attachment, fellowship candidates will be expected to describe (a) the strengths and weaknesses in the rigor of the prior research that serves as the key support for the proposed project, (b) plans to address any weaknesses in the rigor of the prior research, (c) how the experimental objectives proposed will achieve robust and unbiased results, and (d) how relevant biological variables are factored into research designs and analyses. If applicable, fellowship candidates will be required to include the Authentication of Key Biological and/or Chemical Resources attachment.
Individual Career Development (K)In describing their career development plans in the Program Plan attachment, candidates for career development awards will be expected to address, as applicable, any new research skills they plan to acquire in the areas of rigorous research design, experimental methods, quantitative approaches, and data analysis and interpretation.