Promoting Transparent Reporting in APS Publications to Enhance Data Reproducibility

Promoting Transparent Reporting in APS Publications to Enhance Data Reproducibility

Concerns about the lack of rigorous reporting of, and the failure to reproduce, studies published in research articles have been the topic of discussion at NIH, FASEB, APS, and other science organizations. In particular, APS Council and the APS Publications Committee have considered how APS journals could facilitate better reporting of experiments reported in the APS Journals and, in turn, increase the likelihood that studies could be reproduced. 

As of August 2016, several guidelines in the APS Information for Authors have been updated, including the addition of  a new section entitled “Experimental Details to Report in Your Manuscript” in effort to promote greater transparency in reporting relevant experimental information. As such, authors are ENCOURAGED* (as noted by the icon magnifying glass ) to enhance in the following ways the reporting of:

magnifying glass  Animal experiments

Authors are encouraged to refer to the ARRIVE Guidelines Checklist in preparation for reporting the methods and results of animal studies.  Particular attention should be given to providing detailed information regarding:

  • The animals used in the study (species, strain, sex, age, source of animals, genetic modification status, housing, diet, etc.)
  • The controls used in the study (littermate, purchased, identical conditions, contemporaneous, historical, etc.)
  • Precise details of all experimental procedures (drug formulation and dose, anesthesia and analgesia used, method of euthanasia, etc.)
  • Steps taken to minimize subjective bias in the study design (randomization, blinding, etc.)

magnifying glass  Antibody validation

Authors are encouraged to submit one representative full blot per antibody that generated the data for the paper, exclusive of loading controls. Lanes on the blot should be labeled to note the nonspecific and specific bands and exposure time should be indicated. These materials will be assessed during review.

Authors are encouraged to describe how antibodies were validated for specificity. Authors can reference prior publications or show positive or negative controls on the blot, as noted above, that is submitted as “Supporting Material for Reviewers Only.”

magnifying glass  Experimental details in figures and legends

Information reported in figures and legends should describe each individual experiment presented, including the number of samples or animals used per treatment.  The statistics performed for each experiment should be reported as well. If concerns regarding the statistical analyses reported in the manuscript are raised during peer review, the Associate Editor may consult a statistician for guidance.   

Authors are encouraged to present gels or blots in figures with the following:

  • a molecular-weight size marker
  • space above and below the band of interest from the original image

Authors are encouraged to provide detailed legends to all figures and tables including:

  • specific “n” for each treatment group in each experiment
  • description of statistics used to analyze each experiment

  Articles based on original computer simulation software

Upon submission of a paper reporting computer simulation using original, author-generated code, authors are encouraged to deposit software and code via a public repository, such as GitHub, if not already deposited to a public repository.  A link to the software deposit should be included in the cover letter.  Alternatively, authors may submit a working version of their software and computer code as supporting data for access by the reviewers.  For complete information, see:


Related Editorials

  • Considerations when quantitating protein abundance by immunoblot, Alicia A. McDonough, Luciana C. Veiras, Jacqueline N. Minas, Donna Lee Ralph, American Journal of Physiology-Cell Physiology,  Published 15 March 2015 Vol. 308 no. 6, C426-C433 DOI: 10.1152/ajpcell.00400.2014

  • Antibodies: friend or foe? Romke Bron, Nigel W. Bunnett, American Journal of Physiology-Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology, Published 1 November 2015 Vol. 309 no. 9, G717-G718 DOI: 10.1152/ajpgi.00312.2015

  • Research antibodies: do not use them to stain your reputation, Eric Delpire, American Journal of Physiology-Cell Physiology Published 1 December 2015 Vol. 309 no. 11, C707-C708 DOI: 10.1152/ajpcell.zh0-7843-editorial.2015

  • Guidelines for reporting statistics in journals published by the American Physiological Society, Douglas Curran-Everett, Dale J. Benos, Physiological Genomics Published 11 August 2004 Vol. 18 no. 3, 249-251 DOI: 10.1152/physiolgenomics.00155.2004

  • In pursuit of scientific excellence: sex matters, Virginia M. Miller, American Journal of Physiology-Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology, Published 1 May 2012 Vol. 302 no. 9, G907-G908 DOI: 10.1152/ajpgi.00101.2012

  • Insufficient sex description of cells supplied by commercial vendors, Mi-Na Park, Ji Hyun Park, Hee Young Paik, Suk Kyeong Lee, American Journal of Physiology-Cell Physiology Published 1 April 2015 Vol. 308 no. 7, C578-C580 DOI: 10.1152/ajpcell.00396.2014