RRIDs, a means toward scientific rigor and reproducibility

Seminar Date: 
Seminar Time: 
11am - 12pm
Seminar Location: 
5607 Baum Boulevard, Room 407A
Anita Bandrowski, PhD

RRIDs are persistent unique identifiers that track the use of key biological resources such as antibodies, cell lines, organisms and software and data projects in the biomedical literature. Reproducibility is a very hard problem to solve, but there are some aspects that will improve reproducibility very quickly that we can implement today.


The RRID initiative was created by journal editors, researchers, reagent companies, NIH and informaticians who came together several times to address the all too common problem of finding reagents reported in papers. For example, the most common syntax for reporting which antibody was used in a study is "rabbit monoclonal anti-GFAP antibody (1:10,000, Millipore-Sigma, St. Louis, USA)", however this syntax does little to let readers know which of the 100 antibodies available from this company the authors used rendering the paper not reproducible for a rather silly reason. RRIDs help authors make sure that the antibody has sufficient information to find it in a company catalog and in other papers that also use the RRID syntax. You can try this yourself in google scholar: https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=0%2C5&q=RRID%3AAB_477010 


For computer scientists, RRIDs are machine resolvable handles, allowing for accurate and meaningful document grouping based on the largely ignored, methods section. The materials and methods may indeed be the only really knowable section in any paper.