Toward good in vitro reporting standards

Thomas Hartung, Rob de Vries, Sebastian Hoffmann, Helena T. Hogberg, Lena Smirnova, Katya Tsaioun, Paul Whaley, Marcel Leist

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


A good experiment reported badly is worthless. Meaningful contributions to the body of science are made by sharing the full methodology and results so that they can be evaluated and reproduced by peers. Erroneous and incomplete reporting does not do justice to the resources spent on conducting the experiment and the time peers spend reading the article. In theory peer-review should ensure adequate reporting – in practice it does not. Many areas of biomedical science have developed reporting standards and checklists to support the adequate reporting of scientific efforts, but in vitro research still has no generally accepted criteria. It is characterized by a “Wild West” or “anything goes” attitude. Such a culture may undermine trust in the reproducibility of animal-free methods and thus parallel the “reproducibility crisis” discussed for other life science fields. The increasing data retrieval needs of computational approaches, especially “big data” and artificial intelligence, makes the reporting quality even more important to allow the scientific community to take full advantage of the results. The first priority of reporting standards is to ensure the completeness and transparency of the provided information (data focus). The second tier is the quality of data display that makes information digestible and easy to grasp, compare, and further analyze (information focus). This article summarizes a series of initiatives geared towards improving the quality of in vitro work and its reporting. This shall ultimately lead to Good In Vitro Reporting Standards (GIVReSt).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-17
Number of pages15
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Medical Laboratory Technology


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