Reproducibility is at the heart of scientific methodology: a result can only be recognized as significant if it can indeed be repeated under the same experimental settings, independently of when, where, and by whom the experiment is done.
In terms of reproducibility, documenting every component involved in obtaining a result is a priority. Whenever a scientific study is submitted for publication, reviewers must be able to assess the choice of samples and controls, experimental methods and the analyses that led to the presented outcomes. Ultimately, every researcher reading a published manuscript should be able to reproduce the original work. Since all data must be documented in the researcher’s lab notebook, this piece of “hardware” is not only a key aspect of the lab life, but also crucial for the entire scientific community and, ultimately, for science itself.
Traditionally, the first day an ambitious scientist steps into a research lab is also the day he receives his first lab notebook. This notebook and all succeeding ones will document every thought, experiment and result that build a scientific career. Furthermore, the lab notebook plays a relevant role in future experiments because it records how reagents have performed previously and how scientists optimized their procedures. Every new batch of the same reagent should be validated exactly as the previously established reference. To an extent, this validation data can also be sourced from the respective supplier to identify suitable reagents.
A digital lab notebook is far superior compared to its paper-based equivalent, when it comes to combining data from different sources into one consistent format. Thus, comparing the reproducibility of validation experiments also becomes considerably easier and more reliable.
Another key variable regarding reproducibility is the quality of the research reagents, e.g. antibodies, used to perform the experiment. antibodies-online is the largest online distributor of antibodies, ELISA kits and related products.
They acknowledge the value of data validation of commercially available life science products, regardless of the origin. In this respect, antibodies-online are constantly working to provide the highest quality data currently available for their products to their customers. They are also heavily devoted to the independent validation of their products in collaboration with partners such as Science Exchange and the Human Protein Atlas. Additionally, they have started a program that offers customers free antibodies in exchange for their validation data.
The reproducibility of scientific results has garnered a lot of interest recently, in particular in the life science field. Improving the confidence in published results is a subsequent part of everybody’s responsibility – manufacturers, distributors, scientists and publishers. Independent performance validation of life science reagents and digital lab notebooks contributes a great deal to increased reproducibility.
Research Data Management (RDM) is an overarching process that guides researchers through the many stages of the data lifecycle. In doing so, it enables scientists and stakeholders alike to make the most out of generated research data. Electronic lab notebooks simplify the creation of effective RDM plans and enable researchers to easily put them into action for a better, reproducible, transparent and open science.
To discover how to optimize RDM strategies, check out our guide on effective Research Data Management.