Your Research: How To Be InCredible

Your Research: How To Be InCredible
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3 years ago

Your Research: How To Be InCredible

Can I ask... how InCredible is your research?
Are you aware of open science?
Is your research replicable and reproducible?

Your answers really matter to us at the BNA. We’ve just officially launched our ‘Credibility in Neuroscience’ Manifesto, outlining our vision and commitments to creating an exciting and sustainable future for 21st century neuroscience, and now we’re on a mission to support the whole of the neuroscience community to be InCredible together.

Open science aims to make research more transparent at every stage of scientific discovery, enabling studies to be easily reproduced and replicated. This includes openly sharing our study design, methods, materials, data and code. I’m totally aware of the challenges this may bring. Prior to my role at the BNA, I worked in a lab for many years, and can see how hard it is to implement open science in the reality of our currently highly competitive ‘publish or perish’ culture. Especially when none of us need one more thing to take up precious research time. Yet, it’s also a necessity – being more open will transform the landscape of our research environment and make life easier and more progressive for everyone.

If I can start by telling you a little bit more about our manifesto and why it’s important. Supported by The Gatsby Foundation, we launched the manifesto at the House of Commons (you can see the photos from the event here) with addresses from Professor Dorothy Bishop, Professor Robert Winston and BNA Chief Executive, Dr Anne Cooke. Drawing from across the field, it was a unique opportunity to bring together neuroscientists, students and clinicians, with politicians, funders and the commercial sector.

The manifesto is central to our most important programme to date, ‘Credibility in Neuroscience’, developed in response to current threats and challenges to credible research across biosciences. Currently, there is a huge pressure to publish as many papers as possible, with an emphasis on dramatic, novel findings. This in turn has led to increasing levels of non-reproducible research [1], which can skew scientific understanding, contribute to hyped expectations, and jeopardise the translation of research to real-world applications.

To ensure a sustainable future for 21st century neuroscience research, we must also ensure the credibility of research – it’s vital that it is reproducible, replicable, and reliable. That means rewarding the best science – science which lays equal value on both positive and null outcomes, that recognises the importance of reproducibility or replication, and can sometimes be slow to progress.

At the BNA, we take our responsibility seriously, to directly address these issues within neuroscience, and as a result we have developed a vision for change. Change that will ensure the credibility of neuroscience.

To achieve this, our manifesto outlines three commitments:

  • Supporting a shift in research culture that’s welcomed and desired by the whole neuroscience community
  • Equipping all neuroscientists - regardless of career stage, location, research topic or specialist technique - with the skills, knowledge, tools and processes they need to carry out neuroscience research which is as credible as possible
  • Changing the landscape in which neuroscientists operate, so that the influences which drive neuroscience research also drive the most credible research

Yet, whilst words are important, what’s at the heart of our campaign is action. This is a manifesto built for ‘doing’. From sharing best practice and creating a space for vigorous discussion and debate, to equipping researchers with the right tools and incentives to try something new. At the BNA, our aim is to support everyone to make changes and embrace new practices.

Naturally, working together is a key part of this change. That means engaging with everyone within the community, from journal publishers and societies, to universities, funders and the general public. Uniting together as one neuroscience community to achieve this vision for the future of our field.

Finally, if you now find yourself asking, what can I do? – we’ve brought together some simple first steps to get you started at being InCredible.


Be InCredible by... sharing your knowledge

Talk to an academic friend or colleague about the issues they are facing, share your knowledge with them, and take the chance to discuss how credibility is important to translate neuroscience research into real-world applications.

Be InCredible by... checking out our how-to of credible research

Take a look at how to publish null results, preregister research or submit a Registered report where appropriate, and use CRediT wherever possible.

Be InCredible by... promoting awareness within the science community

Ensure transparency and credibility in all you publish, scrutinising results and playing your part in supporting reproducibility. If you lead a lab then make sure your team members are aware of new approaches in publishing.

Be InCredible by... sharing and profiling the importance of credible research

Support and highlight negative results, including caveats or limitations when writing science or health news, and reporting what a study doesn't show as well as what it might.

Be InCredible by... joining the BNA

When it comes to credibility in neuroscience, we are your voice. Why not join our neuroscience community here for the greater good of the sector. Be the change you want to see.

Find out lots more about being InCredible at: www.bnacredibility.org.uk or click here to read the full manifesto

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Georgina Hazell is Head of Policy and Campaigns at the British Neuroscience Association (BNA). She has also recently been awarded a BBSRC Enterprise Fellowship from the Royal Society of Edinburgh. Prior to this she was a neuroendocrinologist at the University of Bristol, where she spent the last decade working on GPCR signalling and dynamic neuroendocrine systems.

The BNA is the largest UK organisation representing and promoting neuroscience and neuroscientists. To find out more visit: www.bna.org.uk and follow them on Twitter @BritishNeuro

To find out about becoming a member, visit the BNA website here.

[1] R Soc Open Sci., 2018. Modelling science trustworthiness under publish or perish pressure; Nat Hum Behav., 2017. A manifesto for reproducible science

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