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Biological Variation and Reproducibility

In order to build a solid foundation for subsequent studies, it is a prerequisite that scientific results must be reproducible. However it is often found that there studies claiming a significant result are not reproducible. This lack of reproducibility was also described in a survey published 2016 in Nature, where more than 70% of researchers have failed to reproduce another scientist`s experiments and more than half have failed to reproduce their own experiments1.

During the 3Rs days, Dr. Bernhard Voelkl from the University of Bern gave a presentation of his work on reproducibility issues in animal experiments and how these can be counteracted2,3. Together with Prof. Hanno Würbel, a video has been produced as part of this work through support from the Swiss National Science Foundation, the NC3Rs and the European Research Council, which is intended to illustrate the problem and show researchers possible solutions for their own projects.


You can watch the video below! For further information or questions regarding the publications, you can use the provided information at the end of the article.

Video abspielen


1 Baker, M. 1,500 scientists lift the lid on reproducibility. Nature 533, 452–454 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1038/533452a

2 Voelkl, B., Altman, N.S., Forsman, A. et al. Reproducibility of animal research in light of biological variation. Nat Rev Neurosci 21, 384–393 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41583-020-0313-3

3 Voelkl, B., Würbel, H., Krzywinski, M. et al. The standardization fallacy. Nat Methods 18, 5–7 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41592-020-01036-9


Dr. Bernhard Voelkl

Animal Welfare Division
Veterinary Public Health Institute
University of Bern

E-Mail: bernhard.voelkl@vetsuisse.unibe.ch

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Gesellschaft zur Förderung von Alternativen
Biomodellen (The 3R Society)
Postfach 0014
A-8036 Graz