Arnold Foundation Awards $1.3 Million to Validate Cancer Studies

The Center for Open Science has announced a $1.3 million grant from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation in support of its work to validate landmark cancer studies.

The grant will support the Reproducibility Initiative, which is working to independently and systematically validate fifty of the highest-impact studies in the cancer biology field published between 2010 and 2012. Launched in 2012 by Science Exchange, PLOS ONE, figshare, and Mendeley in response to revelations by the pharmaceutical industry that more than 70 percent of published cancer research cannot be reproduced, the initiative aims to identify and reward high-quality reproducible research through independent validation of key experimental results and facilitate the development of effective cancer therapies.

The initiative will use the grant to develop an integrated collaboration with the Reproducibility Project, a crowdsourced effort by researchers to identify the predictors of reproducibility in a large sample of published studies in psychological science. "The integration of these two projects is an opportunity to understand and address reproducibility challenges that are shared across scientific disciplines," said Center for Open Science director Brian Nosek. The publications and data produced by the collaboration will be made available online — the first complete publicly available dataset of replicated biomedical research to be put online.

"The lack of reproducibility in cancer studies is a major obstacle in the development of viable therapies to cure cancer," said Dr. Elizabeth Iorns, co-director of the Reproducibility Initiative. "The Reproducibility Initiative hopes to transform the scientific process by enabling researchers to verify key scientific findings and incentivizing scientific replication. The funding will be instrumental in not only verifying landmark cancer studies, but also helping to institutionalize scientific replication."