Today, as part of continued efforts to foster transparency and reproducibility in life science research, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the nonprofit publisher of the Science family of journals, announces a four-year collaboration with the publisher Bio-protocol.
The launch of the agreement between AAAS and Bio-protocol comes amid a growing demand for sharing experimental materials and methods and aims to raise the standards for reproducibility by directly connecting researchers with high-quality, reliable and free access to protocols.
Bio-protocol, an online publisher of both established and novel life science protocols, has built a platform for reviewing, sharing, discussing, and updating protocols tied to research papers published in high-quality research journals.
The collaboration between AAAS and Bio-protocol will offer authors publishing in the Science family journals the option to publish their protocols on the Bio-protocol website, where they will be made freely available. A link to the Bio-protocol website will be included in the Materials and Methods section of all relevant research articles published in the Science family journals.
“We are excited to collaborate with AAAS,” said Fanglian He, Publisher, Bio-protocol. “This partnership will increase the awareness of the importance of detailed protocols to improving reproducibility. Our vision is that in the foreseeable future, each method in a published research article – no matter how basic or advanced – will be linked to a detailed protocol published in Bio-protocol, or elsewhere, which will make reproducing a published experiment an easier task. ”
“I am delighted that AAAS and Bio-protocol have decided to collaborate. While some aspects of the research reproducibility problem are inherent to complex living systems, others are clearly solvable, such as the sharing, discussion, and updating of detailed protocols, and the clear identification (and validation) of research reagents,” said Vivian Siegel, Senior Editorial Advisor, Bio-protocol. “Bio-protocol has worked in this area since 2011, and collaborates with research journals to publish detailed protocols tied to their research articles. With AAAS and the Science family of journals on board, we anticipate that the visibility of Bio-protocol‘s important work will increase, and that many more researchers will contribute their protocols, thus improving the rigor and reproducibility of research.”
For Science family journal articles in the biological sciences, authors will be invited to submit a protocol to Bio-protocol and a link will be provided that directs readers to the Bio-protocol site. If the authors have published protocols derived from their Science family journal article on Bio-protocol, the link will direct readers to those protocols.
If a related protocol is not available on the Bio-protocol site, the link will instead take readers to Bio-protocol‘s “Request a protocol” service webpage. The request for a protocol will then be relayed to the author. Protocols that may be related to the methods in the paper will also be displayed at the link, but it will be clear that these are not provided by the author and do not directly relate to the paper.
“A platform that provides peer review of protocols is a crucial factor in support of reproducibility. It is also important to provide authors and their peers opportunities to read, update and engage in a detailed dialogue about materials and methods,” said Bill Moran, Publisher, Science family journals. “AAAS and Science have always recognized the importance of protocols as a key factor in reproducibility, and for this reason, we are partnering with Bio-protocol to further encourage exchanges between scientists.”
“Protocol sharing provides context and equips scientists with the information they need to conduct their experiments in a careful and thorough way,” said Valda Vinson, Editor, Science. “Giving scientists step-by-step instructions makes it easier to reproduce experiments – more so than reading a materials and methods section of a paper – and will help accelerate discoveries in life science research.”