Twenty Years and Over a Thousand Citations, But It Couldn’t Be Reproduced

[From the commentary “Novelty in science should not come at the cost of reproducibility” by Andrew Holding, published in The FEBS Journal]
“Oestrogen receptor (ER) cycling is a dogma of the Oestrogen receptor-positive (ER+) breast cancer field.”
“For nearly 20 years, it was accepted dogma that, once stimulated, the ER activated its target genes in successive 90-min ‘on–off’ cycles … The papers that first detailed this process currently have over 1000 citations each, yet we could not replicate their key findings.”
“It would be surprising if no one else had encountered this replication problem over the past two decades. …the real underlying problem here is that negative results are often not published.”
“We need to challenge the culture of ‘first past the post’ and the pre-eminence given to high-impact journal publications. Instead, we need to develop a research culture in which research outcomes are only seen as being groundbreaking once they have been independently validated.”
“In such a culture, those who replicate research findings are seen as being an important part of the research process – as important as those who got there first. In my case, so few had the time and resources to challenge the established fact that they simply published the next novel result without ensuring the underlying model was right.”
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