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NC3Rs: National Centre for the Replacement Refinement & Reduction of Animals in Research

Publication bias workshop and Wakelet

23 March 2015
Green post it notes spread across a table on top of a scheduling poster

In February we held a two day workshop on publication bias, encouraging delegates to share their thoughts online using the hashtag #publicationbias. Below is a Wakelet feed of what they shared.

Last month, the NC3Rs held a two day Publication Bias Workshop to bring together funders, journals and scientists from academia and industry to discuss the impact of publication bias in animal research and map out a strategy to address this issue.

Publication bias occurs when studies that do not reach statistical significance (commonly referred to as “neutral” or “negative”studies) are not published, or when research findings are selectively reported. This can have a significant impact on the progression of scientific research and the 3Rs, as unreported studies skew the knowledge base towards positive results and crucially waste animals and valuable resources.

The workshop sparked discussions not only amongst delegates but also in the online community, who used #publicationbias on Twitter to join in the conversation.

Dr Emily Sena from the CAMARADES group at the University of Edinburgh gave the opening lecture on evidence and impact of publication bias in animal research.

This was followed by a series of talks discussing how prospective registration of preclinical trials would address the problem of publication bias (Professor Jonathan Kimmelman, McGill University), perspectives on registration of clinical studies (Dr Trish Groves, The BMJ) and a new initiative in publishing using Registered Reports (Professor Chris Chambers,Cortex).











The theme of prospective study registration continued with a lively debate; this house believes that prospective registration of preclinical studies is necessary to reduce publication bias.








Day 2 carried on the theme of discussing different initiatives to reduce publication bias focusing on publishing models (PLOS ONE, F1000Research, eNeuro and NIHR) and data sharing platforms (FigShare and Scientific Data).







Followed by an overview of the impact of publication bias on the pharmaceutical industry and toxicology field of research.



The workshop concluded with breakout group discussions to examine different initiatives which could reduce publication bias and identify their benefits and limitations. Based upon these discussions, delegates were asked to brainstorm ideas to develop a strategy in this area.


Thank you to the all the speakers and the delegates who participated in the workshop and contributed towards the stimulating and lively discussions. A detailed report of the workshop is being prepared and the NC3Rs intend to use the information gathered to build future initiatives in this area.

If you would like to find out more about the workshop, checkout the following blogs for perspectives from delegates attending the meeting: