A Manifesto for being InCredible

The British Neuroscience Association (BNA) is officially launching its ‘Credibility in Neuroscience Manifesto today, Monday 25th November, at an evening reception at the House of Commons.

The manifesto has been published in response to current threats and challenges to credible research across life sciences. Currently, there is a huge pressure to publish as many papers as possible, with an emphasis on dramatic, novel findings. This in turn has led to increasing levels of non-reproducible research[i], which can skew scientific understanding, contribute to hyped expectations, and jeopardise the translation of research to real-world applications.

At the BNA, we recognise our responsibility to directly address these issues within neuroscience, and as a result, we have developed a vision for change. Change that will ensure that neuroscience research is as robust, reliable, replicable and reproducible as possible; in short, to ensure the credibility of neuroscience.

To achieve this, our manifesto outlines three commitments:

  • Supporting a shift in research culture that’s welcomed and desired by the whole neuroscience community.
  • Equipping all neuroscientists – regardless of career stage, location, research topic or specialist technique – with the skills, knowledge, tools and processes they need to carry out neuroscience research which is as credible as possible.
  • Changing the landscape in which neuroscientists operate, so that the influences which drive neuroscience research also drive the most credible research.

Speaking about the manifesto, BNA President, Professor Annette Dolphin said:

To ensure a sustainable future for 21st century neuroscience research, we must ensure the credibility of research – that it is reproducible, replicable, and reliable. That means rewarding the best science – science which lays equal value on both positive and null outcomes, that recognises the importance of reproducibility or replication, and can sometimes be slow to progress. But be reassured, this isn’t a campaign of saying and sermonising – this is one of doing. From sharing best practice and creating a space for vigorous discussion and debate, to equipping researchers with the right tools and incentives to try something new. We are committed to supporting everyone to make changes and embrace new practices, in order to advance and secure the future of neuroscience.

Chief Executive, Anne Cooke also commented:

As neuroscientists, we have a duty to strive for the best science: science that is reliable, sustainable and will make a difference to our future. Working together is key to this, engaging with everyone within the community, from journal publishers and societies, to universities, funders and the general public.  As an organisation, we’re committed to working together as one neuroscience community, ensuring everyone is equipped and supported to make changes that will help achieve our vision.

Supported by The Gatsby Foundation, tonight’s event presents an exciting opportunity to raise the profile and awareness of ‘Credibility in Neuroscience’, with addresses from Professor Dorothy Bishop, Professor Lord Robert Winston, and BNA Chief Executive, Dr Anne Cooke.

About ‘Credibility in Neuroscience’ 

The BNA’s campaign, ‘Credibility in Neuroscience’, is one of our most important programmes to date, to drive open, transparent and reproducible research.

The programme champions the principles of open science, replicability, reliability and reproducibility in research, and challenges some aspects of today’s research environment – such as ‘publish or perish’ – which can have a counter-productive and damaging effect.