Sharing & repeating protocols – it’s not rocket science!

Execute protocol

Leaders in fields ranging from biomedical research to social science have said it again and again: replication matters, and so does sharing protocols.  The importance of repeating experiments is central to the career of the scientist.  Indeed, it is absolutely crucial, be it for a research publication or for a patent application.  In order for a finding to have any significance at all, it needs to be ‘true’ more than the one time that it was done by the original research group.  If not, we have to attribute it to either serendipity, sloppy dissemination or, rarely, fraud.  A major result may depend on a subtlety in how the experiment was conducted that was neither communicated via a research or indeed, conference paper.