In a Nature Comment article Malcolm McCleod and Jeffrey Mogli present a very interesting idea for preclinical research to improve trust in animal studies by performing large confirmatory studies, called ‘preclinical trials’. The authors suggest that critical preclinical studies should be confirmed by an independent lab, with the results being published in the same article as the original scientific finding. For generalizability studies, having the potential for clinical applications, this replication effort would most likely require a multicenter approach.

The authors believe that this strategy has the potential to increase the quality of preclinical research as scientists will be aware that the primary finding has to be replicated by an independent confirmatory lab. This will encourage them to produce higher quality data right from the beginning when studies are planned and designed.

This idea was also discussed in a short interview on Retraction watch. It certainly could be another important step forward to make science more reproducible, and it will be interesting to see how fast such an idea can be implemented.

Link to interview on retraction watch: