Archive for the ‘NIFarious Ideas’ Category

If at first you do succeed: Publish a Replication Report with #RRIDs anyway!

Posted on January 30th, 2017 in Anita Bandrowski, Data Spotlight, Force11, News & Events, NIFarious Ideas | No Comments »

Science is the act of trying and trying again, whether or not we confirm what we think should be happening.

Begely and Ellis in their 2012 paper from Amgen stated that only about 11% of cancer studies were replicable sending shockwaves through the scientific community for years. However, the authors did not give the scientific community all of the data that showed the replicates.

This week in eLife, the Center for Open Science and a cohort of great ‘re-do-ers’ have just published the first batch of studies that are replicates of influential cancer studies, attempting to confirm or deny what the original study claimed. We at the RRID initiative have noted that the original studies often lacked identifying information in the reagents they used, as is alluded to by some of the replication attempts. These simple omissions make replication much more difficult, something that the ‘re-do-ers’ struggled with.

This is really a monumental step and we will wait for the final publications to determine whether these rigorous and fully transparent attempts also fall in the 11% replication level as claimed by Begely and Ellis, but so far some of the replicates show trends in the same direction reported by the original study authors, though no replication attempt has panned out exactly the same way as the original paper. We certainly need to wait and see for the rest of the reports, but I am personally heartened that the original authors are engaged in the replication, commenting on these reports attempting to understand their own data and the new data.

The immortal Aristotle was once reported to say “Quality is not an act, it is a habit.” I think that if he were alive today he would be very interested in these developments and would implore us to look at ourselves and if we did not like what we see, he would call on us to change for the better. While none of my papers will likely be the target of this kind of scrutiny, I do hope that the methods and results will stand up in the long term. This is a call to action for all of us, to be more precise and to do better delivering on the promise of science for the patients who deserve our very best attention and very best methodology.

Rigor and Transparency in Reproducibility on BioLegend’s Podcast!

Posted on December 12th, 2016 in Anita Bandrowski, News & Events, NIFarious Ideas | No Comments »

download

Come one come all, listen to a podcast on reproducibility on your way home today.
“Talkin’ Immunology” hosts a conversation about Rigor and Transparency.

Perfect storm to fix antibody problems?

Posted on September 9th, 2016 in Anita Bandrowski, General information, NIFarious Ideas | No Comments »

This article comes from the GBSI folks, reporting on antibody validation solutions:

Well, the prefect storm has converged, and a proposal for validation of antibodies continues the year-long effort by many in the research community to fix a widely-known problem in research and reproducibility – poorly characterized antibodies. This first of many efforts to come to a head is led by Mathias Uhlen and the ad-hoc International Working Group on Antibody Validation, and outlines five conceptual pillars for antibody validation to be used in an application-specific manner. Several of the co-authors will present their paper at HUPO 2016 later this month in Taipei. Additional efforts include the 2nd International Antibody Validation Meeting on September 15th in the UK, and one by GBSI that you may have heard about. An online community has emerged to help crowdsource potential standards and will continue to drive the conversation. Still not convinced this is a big deal? Thermo Fisher Scientific has pledged to verify the specificity of their antibodies in line with these new recommendations. Pair these and other activities with Cell’s STARMethods and the future is looking brighter for research reproducibility.

A STAR is Born, Indeed

Posted on August 26th, 2016 in Anita Bandrowski, Data Spotlight, News & Events, NIFarious Ideas | No Comments »

News on the RRID front is encouraging!

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We have been very busy adding new journals over the last year. It is wonderful whenever we see a new journal with and RRID, especially when the instructions to authors are updated and you know that this is a serious effort from the editors.

More recently RRIDs are being type-set into journals by groups such as BMC, eLife (structured methods), Elsevier and Cell Press journals improving the syntax of the identifiers and allowing journals to link to databases from articles if they chose to do so.

However a step further has just been undertaken by an entire journal group. Cell Press has just restructured their methods section to make it “STAR: Structured Transparent Accessible Reporting”-compliant. This of course includes RRIDs!

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2016.08.021

The idea is that authors create a list of research resources in a table helping to keep track of all the “ingredients one needs to replicate the study” and echoes the NIH language of Rigor and Transparency. This will be a real boon for reproducible science!

Some papers using the new format are already out from Cell:

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S009286741631011X

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0092867416309953

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0092867416309321

We LOVE structured methods!

Your grandmother is much better at open reproducible science than you!

Posted on July 15th, 2016 in Anita Bandrowski, News & Events, NIFarious Ideas | No Comments »

Yes you read it correctly, I am calling you out on your ability to do open reproducible science.

This 3 minute video should convince you:

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If not, then leave a comment!

Protect Yourself from Zombie Papers

Posted on April 25th, 2016 in Anita Bandrowski, Data Spotlight, NIFarious Ideas | No Comments »

Another fun flier to post around the department.

Zombification of papers: the inability to use or validate information in the paper.
How can we stop this terrible plague on the scientific literature? – RRIDs help get the Key biological reagents identified and authenticated.

Feel free to print this fun flier and post it on your office door!

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RRID: Improve your Impact Factor!

Posted on April 25th, 2016 in Anita Bandrowski, News & Events, NIFarious Ideas | No Comments »

Please feel free to take this fun flier and post it around your lab to help your lab-mates to remember how to get an RRID into your next methods section or grant application.

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Brain Health Registry

Posted on March 3rd, 2014 in Anita Bandrowski, News & Events, NIFarious Ideas | No Comments »

The Brain Health Registry — led by researchers at UCSF — is a groundbreaking, web-based project designed to speed up cures for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other brain disorders.  It uses online questionnaires and online neuropsychological tests (which are very much like online brain games). It can make clinical trials — which are needed to develop cures — faster, better and less expensive.

 

The project is scheduled for a public launch in the spring, but we’re inviting you to be among the first to participate and provide feedback.

 

Click here to see our website and get more information about the Brain Health Registry.

  • It’s easy. It takes a few minutes to sign up and less than 3 hours per year. And it’s all done online, so you can do it from home — or anywhere you have Internet access.
  • It offers a breakthrough. 85% of clinical trials have trouble recruiting enough participants. By creating a large online database of pre-qualified recruits, The Brain Health Registry can dramatically cut the cost and time of conducting clinical trials. This is the first neuroscience project to leverage online possibilities in this way and on this scale.
  • It’s meaningful. With every click of the mouse, you help researchers get closer to a cure for Alzheimer’s and other brain diseases. If Alzheimer’s runs in your family, this may be an important gift to your loved ones.
  • It’s safe. Top scientists from some of the most respected institutions in medicine are leading the Brain Health Registry. They understand your need for privacy, and they will protect it at every step of the way.

We’re currently in our pre-launch phase.  Try it out!  If you offer feedback – and we hope you do – we will read it, consider it carefully, and respond to you directly.

 

As an early adopter, you can help us in two ways.  You can help in the way all members can help — by answering the questionnaires and taking the online brain tests, you strengthen the database that the scientific community needs.  You can also help us improve our new website – we’ll be making many changes, based on your feedback, before our public launch.

 

Please take the time to visit our sight, sign up and offer your feedback.

Resource Identification Initiative – AntibodiesOnline is giving away “nerd mugs” to help identify antibodies in your paper.

Posted on December 16th, 2013 in Anita Bandrowski, News & Events, NIFarious Ideas | No Comments »

Dear NIF Community members;

Our partners in crime, FORCE11, are hosting a working group, the Resource Identification Initiative, that is working with journals to make it easier to identify research resources used in the materials and methods of biomedical research through the use of unique identifiers.  For the pilot project, we are concentrating on antibodies, genetically modified organisms and software.  Our goal is to make identification of research resources:  1)  machine-processable;  2)  available outside any paywall;  3)  uniform across journals.  More information can be found at:  http://www.force11.org/Resource_identification_initiative

Our colleagues at Antibodies On Line have set up a beta testing site specifically for antibodies: http://www.antibodies-online.com/resource-identification-initiative/

If you use antibodies in your research, or know those that do, please help us test the tools and provide feedback.  Antibodies Online is generously providing nerd mugs and shirts to those who participate (they make great Holiday gifts!).

Do you know what you don’t know? A gap analysis of Neuroscience Data.

Posted on October 17th, 2013 in Anita Bandrowski, Data Spotlight, Inside NIF, NIFarious Ideas | No Comments »

My thesis adviser, a colorful spirit and one whose wisdom will long be missed, used to say that undergraduate or professional students differed from graduate students in that they were asked to learn what was known about a subject, while graduate students were asked to tackle the unknown.

We, in higher education, are essentially seeking to find out what is not known and start to come up with new answers. How does one find out what is not known? In fact, is it possible to do that? Don’t most graduate students or postdocs add onto a lab’s existing body of knowledge? Adding to the unknown by building on the known? If this is how we work then does this create a very skewed version of the brain? How would we even know what is truly unknown?

Now we enter the omics era, where we try to find out all things about a set of things. We no longer want to know about a gene, we want to know about all of the genes, the genome of an organism. We want to account for all things of the type DNA and figure out which parts do what. In neuroscience, this tends to be a little more difficult. Mainly because we do not have a finite list of things that we can account for. We have a large quantity of species with brains, or at least ganglia, we have billions of cells and many more connections between them in a single human brain. The worst part is that these connections are not even static so a wiring diagram is only good for a few minutes for a single brain and then the brain reorganizes some of these connections.

Is the hope for an “omics” approach to neuroscience?

Well, the space is not infinite and has been studied over the last 100+ years so we have some ways of getting at the problem. We have a map!
Can we use this map to figure out some basic information about what we do and do not study? Well, the short answer at least for some things seems to be yes!

The Neuroscience Information Framework (neuinfo.org) project has been aggregating data of various sorts that is useful to neuroscientists, and also a set of vocabularies for all of the brain parts, the map of the nervous system. So we can start to look at which labels are used for tagging data, and which are found in the literature? Are all parts of the brain equally represented by relatively even amounts of data or papers or are there hot spots and cold spots for data?

Below is a heat map generated using the Kepler tool for data sources vs brain regions across the canonical brain regions (a hierarchy built to resemble what one may find in a graduate level text book of neuroanatomy).
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Albeit the heat map is very hard to read (the darker the green the more data, you can generate your own by clicking on the graph icon in NIF), there is little doubt that all brain regions are not equal, and some have very little data, while others have a plethora of data begging the question: Are there popular brain regions and not-so-popular brain regions?

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Indeed, there are brain region annotations that are found more often, when looking at data and much like pop stars, they tend to have shorter names. The most popular data label is actually brain, and the least popular appears to be the Oculomotor nerve root. This is starting to tell us that most data is just labeled as “brain vs kidney”, but can we do better as neuroscientists? In fact, we can break down the labels into major regions like hindbrain, midbrain and forebrain and add up all of the data that fit into each of these. Note most of the data are attributed to the forebrain, housing some of the most popular brain regions such as the cerebral cortex and the hippocampus, but the hindbrain also comes back with some reasonable data, mainly for the cerebellum. It turns out that adding up all the data labels for midbrain regions results in an awkward sense that the midbrain may be completely non-essential to brain research. On the other hand, removing the midbrain appears to be essential to life, so why do neuroscientists not know much or at least publish much about the midbrain?

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So if you are hiding a big pile of data about the midbrain in your desk drawer, I would like to formally ask you to share it with NIF (just email info@neuinfo.org) so that I can stop thinking of the midbrain as the tissue equivalent of fly-over country.