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Reproducibility of experiments

S. A. Modena samodena at csemail.cropsci.ncsu.edu
Tue Apr 6 19:16:58 EST 1993


In article <93092.150043FORSDYKE at QUCDN.QueensU.CA> <FORSDYKE at QUCDN.QueensU.CA> writes:
>
>It is axiomatic that authors must provide sufficient experimental details
>so that others can reproduce their work. This sometimes involves providing
>  a reference to some well established method paper. However, quite often
>one finds that a "kit" has been used. ..........
>Solution? Editors must insist that authors provide full information. Editors
>should NOT accept phrases such as "according to the manufacturer's instructions
>".  Any comments? Editors? Authors? Manufacturer's?
>                                                   Don Forsdyke,

If one looks back at "the" Laemmli paper so often quoted for SDS-PAGE
technique, the "method" is discribed "crudely" in the footnote to a
photographic figure.  This particular paper has been cited infinitely. It
in no way represents the current "technique" of SDS-PAGE as most people
actually practice it.

Certainly manufacturers could make life simpler for citation hounds by
disclaiming that their kit offers similar, but superior results to
such-and-such technique in Methods-in-Enzomology....and if a comparable
paper does not appear already in M.I.E., then what?  ;^)

So I'd like to ask how many people feel that anything taken from a
Materials and Methods these days can be "reproduced?"  Materials and
Methods in mol. bio. appears to be a "starting point" and not a means to
reproducable results.

Years ago when I worked in an industrial organic synthesis research lab,
the lab head was an editor for "Organic Synthesis" and he farmed out
"methods" papers to chemists to try their hand at "reproducing" the
results.  Only then did the paper get published.

I can only conclude that today's Materials and Methods are a check point in
the casual review of a paper's "believability."  :^)

Steve
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|     In person:  Steve Modena     AB4EL                           |
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