Growing Concern Over Reliability of Experiments Adds Pressure for Researchers

Growing Concern Over Reliability of Experiments Adds Pressure for Researchers

March 9, 2017, Lincoln, Nebraska: A recent report addresses concerns over the reliability of published research. “Frustration with this 'reproducibility crisis' is felt by everyone pursuing new disease treatments: … basic scientists…are forced to devote more time and resources to newly imposed requirements for rigour, reporting and statistics. Tightening rigour across all experiments will decrease the number of false positive findings, but comes with the risk of reducing experimental efficiency and creativity,” state authors Jeffery S. Mogil and Malcom R. Macleod.1

Due to this growing emphasis on demonstrated reproducibility of experiments as a key indicator of the potential to publish, researchers need alternatives that are also flexible.

Focus on one technique in particular-Western Blots illustrates how variables and randomness can plague even the best lab technique.

“It’s important to use a strategy that fits the context and biology of your experiment,” says Kristi Ambroz, LI-COR director of customer solutions and support. “Review of publications is showing a trend that normalization is key to success, but must not interfere with the effective down-stream detection of target proteins.”

Without proper normalization researchers cannot be certain if their data reflects real biological change or unexpected experimental error. “Feedback from labs has taught us that accurate quantitative analysis depends on effective normalization,” says Ambroz.

“To help, we’ve published a tactical handbook that lets the researcher quickly consider the options and alternatives and better understand the advantages and issues of each option.”

LI-COR resources to help researchers obtain the reproducible western blots including the Normalization handbook and other educational tools including protocols are available on line, click here to learn more.

LI-COR Biosciences provides innovative solutions for both chemiluminescent and near-infrared Western Blot detection. The LI-COR C-DiGit chemiluminescence scanner eliminates typical darkroom hassles—like multiple exposures or waiting in line. LI-COR Odyssey near infrared systems feature multiplex, direct fluorescent detection for faster, more precise analysis and accurate quantification. LI-COR offers a complete line of chemiluminescent and IRDye infrared dye reagents for Western blotting.


  1. Mogil, J, Macleod, M. (2017) Nature. 542. 409-411.