The work of TransQST members was showcased at the Research Integrity Annual Lecture of the ISMIB (University of Liverpool) on 16th of December by Rahuman Sheriff, BioModels Project Leader at EMBL-EBI.

The talk “Reproducibility in Systems Biology Modelling – BioModels’ Role” given at the event is based on a recent article led by the EMBL-EBI team published in the Molecular Biology Systems journal entitled “Reproducibility Scorecard to Assess Systems Biology Models”.

Reproducibility of scientific results is a key element of science and credibility. It means that the same results can be achieved when the experiment is performed by another researcher. A 2016 Nature survey showed that over 70% of participants failed to reproduce others’ experiments and over 50% failed to reproduce their own results. Following up on the study, the BioModels team at EMBL-EBI analysed 455 kinetic models published in 152 peer-reviewed journals, a collective work of about 1400 scientists from 49 countries, and found that almost half could not be reproduced using the information provided in the manuscript. “These findings were particularly worrying given that mathematical models are considered to be less susceptible to the reproducibility crisis, because they don’t carry any of the risks or uncertainties of experimental methods” explains Rahuman Sheriff.

To address the issue, the BioModels team has come up with an eight-point scorecard that modellers, reviewers and journals can use when publishing or reviewing a model, published in the Molecular Biology Systems journal in early 2021.

During the talk, Rahuman Sheriff presented a systematic analysis of model reproducibility, coordinated with curation in BioModels, to attempt to independently reproduce published modelling results.

BioModels is one of the largest public open-source databases of quantitative mathematical models, where the models are manually curated and semantically enriched. In March 2021, BioModels had made 1000 curated models available to the scientific community.

Further information of the work carried out by the EMBL-EBI team may be found here. The access to the publication in the Molecular Biology Systems journal is available at this link.