Reproducibility and replicability of rodent phenotyping in preclinical studies.

Neri Kafkafi
Joseph Agassi
Elissa J Chesler, The Jackson Laboratory
John C Crabbe
Wim E Crusio
David Eilam
Robert Gerlai
Ilan Golani
Alex Gomez-Marin
Ruth Heller
Fuad Iraqi
Iman Jaljuli
Natasha A Karp
Hugh Morgan
George Nicholson
Donald W Pfaff
S Helene Richter
Philip B Stark
Oliver Stiedl
Victoria Stodden
Lisa M Tarantino
Valter Tucci
William Valdar
Robert W Williams
Hanno Würbel
Yoav Benjamini


The scientific community is increasingly concerned with the proportion of published "discoveries" that are not replicated in subsequent studies. The field of rodent behavioral phenotyping was one of the first to raise this concern, and to relate it to other methodological issues: the complex interaction between genotype and environment; the definitions of behavioral constructs; and the use of laboratory mice and rats as model species for investigating human health and disease mechanisms. In January 2015, researchers from various disciplines gathered at Tel Aviv University to discuss these issues. The general consensus was that the issue is prevalent and of concern, and should be addressed at the statistical, methodological and policy levels, but is not so severe as to call into question the validity and the usefulness of model organisms as a whole. Well-organized community efforts, coupled with improved data and metadata sharing, have a key role in identifying specific problems and promoting effective solutions. Replicability is closely related to validity, may affect generalizability and translation of findings, and has important ethical implications.