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Meta-Research: Incidences of problematic cell lines are lower in papers that use RRIDs to identify cell lines

Scientific articles using cell lines, which are registered on the International Cell Line Authentication Committee (ICLAC) or the Cellosaurus database as ‘misidentified’ continue to be published. Often, the routinely use of short-tandem repeat profiling to test for contamination is not implemented as a standard procedure. Research Resource Identifiers (RRIDs) are unique identifiers for cell lines, antibodies, transgenic organisms or software and should help reduce the prevalence of misidentified and contaminated cell lines in the literature by alerting researchers when a problematic cell line is used. To test this, the authors text-mined the methods sections of about two million papers in PubMed Central and identified 305,161 unique cell-line names in 150,459 articles. The authors calculated that 8.6% of these cell lines were on the list of problematic cell lines, whereas only 3.3% of the cell lines in the 634 papers that included RRIDs were on the problematic list. These findings suggest that the use of RRIDs can indeed result in an improved use of problematic cell lines.

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