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In recent years, there has been a growing awareness of the need for rigorously designed published preclinical studies to ensure that research findings can be faithfully replicated. In response to this need, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has established a formal initiative aimed at improving research reproducibility and they implement significant changes to their policies, grant applications and peer-review process, which took effect Jan. 25, 2016.

UCI School of Medicine is committed to upholding the highest standards of conducting biomedical research. This webpage serves as a means to communicate important updates from NIH and provide resources to help UCI researchers advance their own research with rigor and transparency.

NIH Guidance and Examples of Reproducibility and Rigor in Grant Applications — NIH has published guidance to assist the extramural community in addressing rigor and reproducibility in grant applications as well as examples of rigorous experimental design from funded applications.

NIH Principles & Guidelines These principles and guidelines are the result of a 2014 workshop held by the NIH, Nature Publishing Group and Science, which focused on identifying common opportunities in the scientific publishing arena to enhance rigor and further support research that is reproducible, robust and transparent.

NIH Publications — These are publications from NIH authors on the issue of reproducibility and NIH’s actions to enhance reproducibility. Topics include fixing cell lines and how to balance sex in cell and animal studies.

NIH Training Modules — NIH developed four (4) video modules with accompanying discussion materials that focus on integral components of reproducibility and rigor in the research endeavor, such as bias, blinding and exclusion criteria. NIH also released a training module developed for NIH staff that provides a comprehensive overview of NIH revised policy, grant application instructions, and review criteria for rigor and reproducibility.

NIH Meetings & Workshops — NIH has hosted several meetings and workshops focused on rigor, reproducibility, and transparency in scientific research and has posted materials from these events.

Expanded Guidelines for Reporting Preclinical Research — These guidelines are from external organizations that use the NIH principles and guidelines as a model, but have been expanded to fit the unique needs and challenges of specific fields.

NIH Revised Grant Application Instructions — This is an overview of the new instructions and revised review criteria, which will focus on four areas deemed important for enhancing rigor and transparency: (1) scientific premise of proposed research; (2) rigorous experimental design; (3) consideration of sex and other relevant biological variables; (4) authentication of key biological and/or chemical resources. There is also a revised version of the SF424 Application Instructions for applications due on or after Jan. 25, 2016.

NIH FAQS about Rigor and Reproducibility — The NIH answers frequently asked questions about changes to its policy and grant applications.