Scientific results should be reproducible and robust. However, when reproducibility is tested, it is often not found (often termed ’reproducibility crisis’), and it is one the most important issues facing biomedicine. This crisis would be solved if it were possible to automate reproducibility testing. In this article, Katherine Roper and colleagues describe the semi-automated testing for reproducibility and robustness of 74 studies/statements in the cancer cell biology field extracted from the literature. 

To test the reproducibility of these study outcomes, two different teams used the laboratory automation system Eve and two breast cancer cell lines. Statistically significant evidence for repeatability was found for 43 studies, and significant evidence for reproducibility/robustness in 22 out of 74 studies.

The authors conclude that semi-automated reproducibility testing is currently achievable, that it could be scaled up to generate a substantive source of reliable knowledge and that automation has the potential to mitigate the reproducibility crisis.