Jeffrey S. Mogil (McGill University) and Malcolm R. Macleod propose a new kind of paper that combines the flexibility of basic research with the rigour of clinical trials.
What we propose here is a compromise between the need to trust conclusions in published papers and the freedom for basic scientists to explore and innovate1. Our proposal is a new type of paper for animal studies of disease therapies or preventions: one that incorporates an independent, statistically rigorous confirmation of a researcher’s central hypothesis. We call this large confirmatory study a preclinical trial. These would be more formal and rigorous than the typical preclinical testing conducted in academic labs, and would adopt many practices of a clinical trial.
We believe that this requirement would push researchers to be more sceptical of their own work. Instead of striving to convince reviewers and editors to publish a paper in prestigious outlets, they would be questioning whether their hypotheses could stand up in a large, confirmatory animal studies.
Volume 542; Issue 7642