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But all these factors are exacerbated by common forces, says Judith Kimble, a developmental biologist at the University of Wisconsin - Madison: competition for grants and positions, and a growing burden of bureaucracy that takes away from time spent doing and designing research. Those ranked higher than the option of providing incentives (such as funding or credit towards tenure) for reproducibility-enhancing practices.But even the lowest-ranked item - journal checklists - won a whopping 69% endorsement.Rates ranged from a high of 41% in medicine to a low of 24% in physics and engineering.Free-text responses suggested that redoing the work or asking someone else within a lab to repeat the work is the most common practice.Our results are strikingly similar to another online survey of nearly 900 members of the American Society for Cell Biology (see go.nature.com).That may be because such conversations are difficult.
Survey respondent Michael Adams, a drug-development consultant, says that work showing severe flaws in an animal model of diabetes has been rejected six times, in part because it does not reveal a new drug target.
Acceptance was more common than persistent rejection: only 12% reported being unable to publish successful attempts to reproduce others' work; 10% reported being unable to publish unsuccessful attempts.
Survey respondent Abraham Al-Ahmad at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in Amarillo expected a "cold and dry rejection" when he submitted a manuscript explaining why a stem-cell technique had stopped working in his hands.
But those tasks quickly become just part of the job.
One of the best-publicized approaches to boosting reproducibility is pre-registration, where scientists submit hypotheses and plans for data analysis to a third party before performing experiments, to prevent cherry-picking statistically significant results later. One who did was Hanne Watkins, a graduate student studying moral decision-making at the University of Melbourne in Australia.
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The survey asked scientists what led to problems in reproducibility.