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Seminar: Professor Dorothy Bishop

March 13, 2017 @ 16:00 - 17:30

Improving reproducibility in neuroscience
Monday 13 March @ 4 pm5:30 pm (Lecture Theatre, Le Gros Clark Building)

Dorothy Bishop from the University of Oxford will talk about ‘Improving reproducibility in neuroscience’ at the Cortex Club on Monday, 13th of March.

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Professor Dorothy Bishop is a psychologist specialising in developmental disorders, working at the Department of Experimental Psychology. At Cortex Club Dorothy will be talking about issues and concerns on science reproducibility.

“Improving the reliability and efficiency of scientific research will increase the credibility of the published scientific literature and accelerate discovery. Here we argue for the adoption of measures to optimize key elements of the scientific process: methods, reporting and dissemination, reproducibility, evaluation and incentives. There is some evidence from both simulations and empirical studies supporting the likely effectiveness of these measures, but their broad adoption by researchers, institutions, funders and journals will require iterative evaluation and improvement.” in Munafo et al. Nature 2017

Methods which have become standard in the genetics literature – use of large samples and replication of findings – are not always adopted in neuroscience, leading to a risk of false positive findings. Furthermore, flexible analytic pipelines make it possible to analyse any dataset to give a significant result. I will give some examples of good and poor methods from a review I am conducting of studies in the field of neurogenetics. Replication should become a standard practice; this, together with the need for larger sample sizes will entail greater emphasis on collaboration between research groups. Increased complexity in methods is also a barrier to reproducibility, as studies are often hard to understand, even for experts in the field. Moves towards standardized reporting may help overcome this problem. Finally, working with simulated datasets is an excellent way to make researchers aware of how easy it is to generate spurious results.

Further reading
Munafo et al. (2017). A manifesto for reproducible science. Nature Human Behaviour 1 0021 (2017) doi:10.1038/s41562-016-0021


March 13, 2017
16:00 - 17:30


Lecture Theatre, Le Gros Clark Building
Le Gros Clark Building
Oxford, OX1 3QX
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