The article ‘Never waste a good crisis: Confronting Reproducibility in Translational Research
’ by Daniel Drucker and published in Cell Metabolism picks up many well-known and extensively discussed issues concerning the reproducibility crisis, but also introduced some really interesting ideas which could be game changers for the scientific community. Drucker is a scientist working in the field of cell metabolism and he gives impressive examples of different factors which then lead to unreproducible data, like cell line authentication, antibody characterization, several aspects of how to include proper controls in different experimental settings and also the lack of showing negative data. However, , two additional and so far not widely discussed ideas of Drucker shall be mentioned here: First, he proposes that meetings should have dedicated sessions to discuss the issue of unreproducible data which could create awareness of particular unreproducible experiments in each research field. Second and with much broader implications, he proposes to establish a novel index, the Reproducibility index (R-Index) and suggests to count the papers of a scientist that were reproduced by other groups.
Drucker acknowledges that this is indeed a challenge, starting with a proper definition of what reproducibility of a paper exactly means. However, once established, it could help breaking new ground by finding innovative measures to judge the research output of scientists. In any case, the R-Index would give a more direct rating of the quality of research which is completely missing when using current evaluation methods based solely on the Journal’s Impact Factor.