The reproducibility crisis has emerged as an important concern across many fields of science. Systems biology modelling, which involves mathematical representation of biological processes to study complex system behaviour, was expected to be least affected by this crisis.
However, in this article, the authors systematically attempted to reproduce 455 kinetic models of biological processes published in peer-reviewed research articles from 152 journals.
This investigation revealed that about half (49%) of the models could not be reproduced using the information provided in the published manuscripts. With further effort, an additional 12% of the models could be reproduced either by empirical correction or support from authors of the original publication. The other 37% remained non-reproducible models due to missing parameter values, missing initial concentration, inconsistent model structure, or a combination of these factors.
Among the corresponding authors of the non-reproducible models who were contacted, less than 30% responded.
To improve the reproducibility rate of models published in life science journals across several fields, the authors proposed an 8-point reproducibility scorecard that can be used by authors, reviewers and journal editors to assess and review each model submitted for publication.