Having helped expose the reproducibility crisis about five years ago, Amgen Inc. is staying at the forefront of the issue with its support of F1000Research, an open-science platform to let researchers check each other's data. But as the field wrestles with causes and solutions, some academics are starting to bristle at the intrusion.
The issue was sparked by a pair of papers in 2011 and 2012 from Bayer AG and Amgen, respectively, that showed each company could only reproduce a small percentage of published data when the experiments were tried in-house.
Although many companies routinely rerun published experiments to verify them, they rarely go the distance of publishing their findings.
Alexander Kamb, SVP of discovery research at Amgen, told BioCentury there has long been a "culture of publication" at the company that has included publishing negative data, but the environment in the scientific community is changing to make that rarer.
"The nature of the process is more challenging and tends to favor new findings as opposed to reconsideration of something," said Kamb. He added that in the current climate, "more prosaic, disconfirming results aren't so easily published."
Now, Amgen has put its weight behind the efforts of life science publisher Faculty of 1000 (F1000) to address the problem with the launch of the Preclinical Reproducibility and Robustness channel on the publisher's F1000Research platform.
On Feb. 4, to mark the channel's launch, Kamb published a joint editorial with Bruce Alberts, former editor in chief of Science and an F1000Research advisory board member, outlining the goal of the channel as an effort "aimed at strengthening the self-correcting nature of science through the widespread, rapid publication of the failures (as well as the