At NeuRA, we are committed to producing high quality research that is rigorous, transparent and reproducible.

However, there is a growing recognition that reproducibility of scientific results is not as robust as previously accepted. This has wide implications for all forms of research, but especially health and medical research. Initiatives have been undertaken in the United Kingdom (e.g. by the Academy of Medical Sciences, Wellcome Trust, Medical Research Council) and in the USA (e.g. by the National Institutes of Health) to address the reproducibility and quality of research.

NeuRA has undertaken a review of research reproducibility and quality and established a formal Research Quality Committee. In 2018, the Committee investigated the state of work on reproducibility and quality at different levels within Australia and overseas. In December 2018 its report was accepted by the NeuRA Research Committee and its recommendations were implemented in 2019. The general recommendations were:

  • Raise awareness about the importance of research reproducibility and quality and how this can be achieved.

  • Educate and train researchers at all levels to improve research quality and the use of appropriate statistical methods.

  • Foster an environment at NeuRA in which robust science and the validity of all research findings are prioritised.

  • Promote open discussion of research reproducibility and quality with those at all levels within and outside NeuRA.

  • Promote a culture of open high-quality science by encouraging strategies such as pre-registration of plans, making data available, and putting unpublished work in a publicly accessible location.

  • Seek broad adoption of improved research quality and reproducibility at a national and international level.

These recommendations propose changes that drive improvements in clinical and non-clinical medical research by NeuRA staff and thereby enhance NeuRA’s reputation as a research organisation.

If you have any questions or comments on research quality, please send them to Simon Gandevia (s.gandevia@neura.edu.au).

The importance of research quality

The Research Quality Committee has made available two videos to indicate the importance of research quality.

  1. Professor Simon Gandevia (on behalf of the Committee): Research Quality Committee & Quality Committee: Why you should be worried. 

  2. Professor Geoff Cumming: Improving the trustworthiness of neuroscience research

Members of NeuRA’s Research Quality Committee

NeuRA has undertaken a review of research reproducibility and quality and established a formal Research Quality Committee

The members of the committee include both junior and senior scientists at NeuRA.

The current members are:

  • Dr Annie Butler

  • Dr Andrew Cartwright

  • Dr Aidan Cashin

  • Dr Luke Egan

  • Dr Michael Green

  • Dr Martin Héroux

  • Mr Harrison Hansford

  • Dr Matthew Jones

  • Dr Kim Kiely

  • Dr Euan McCaughey

  • Prof Simon Gandevia (convenor)

  • Dr Michael Wewege

The foundation members are:

  • Mr Andrew Affleck

  • Dr Annie Butler

  • Dr Andrew Cartwright

  • Mr Aidan Cashin

  • A/Prof Kim Delbaere

  • Dr Michael Green

  • Dr Martin Héroux

  • Dr Euan McCaughey

  • Prof Simon Gandevia (convenor)

  • Prof Stephen Lord

Previously serving members: Prof Stephen Lord, A/Prof Kim Delbaere, Dr Emma Wallace, Dr Jasmine Menant and Mr Rohan Kougious. On leave member Dr Kim van Schooten.

The QuOCCA: Quality Output Checklist and Content Assessment

The goal of biomedical research is to generate new knowledge that is reproducible and, ideally, useful to clinicians and policymakers.

To achieve these goals, research must be well designed, properly conducted and clearly and transparently reported. But assessing this at an individual and organisational level can be difficult without easy-to-navigate, broadly applicable tools.

To fill this gap, the Research Quality Committee at NeuRA developed the ‘QuOCCA’ – a simple checklist specifically designed to support researchers to conduct more open, rigorous and reproducible science, and to allow institutes and institutions to evaluate the quality of their research output. To help guide the use of the QuOCCA an Instructional Guide has been developed.

How research institutions and institutes can use the QuOCCA:

  • To evaluate published research in a consistent and uniform way

  • As a benchmark to guide improvements to the openness, transparency and quality of published research

  • For maximum impact, the QuOCCA and its results should be accompanied by an educational programme that increases awareness and engagement with transparent and reproducible research practices

For more information about the QuOCCA, or tailoring an educational program and developing relevant resources, contact: Dr Martin Héroux

To learn more about how NeuRA developed and is implementing this tool read our paper published in BMJ Open here.

How individual researchers can use the QuOCCA:

  • As a simple checklist to guide the design and reporting of their research

  • As a way to monitor changes in their scientific practice and that of collaborators

Donate to us

Every dollar of community support enables our scientists to continue making life-changing discoveries that contribute to a brighter and healthier future.

Donate


Fundraise for us

Run, swim or bake your way to making a positive difference in the lives of people touched by brain and nervous system disorders.

Get involved