Reproducibility and replicability of rodent phenotyping in preclinical studies

Neri Kafkafi*, Joseph Agassi, Elissa J. Chesler, John C. Crabbe, Wim E. Crusio, David Eilam, Robert Gerlai, Ilan Golani, Alex Gomez-Marin, Ruth Heller, Fuad Iraqi, Iman Jaljuli, Natasha A. Karp, Hugh Morgan, George Nicholson, Donald W. Pfaff, S. Helene Richter, Philip B. Stark, Oliver Stiedl, Victoria StoddenLisa M. Tarantino, Valter Tucci, William Valdar, Robert W. Williams, Hanno Würbel, Yoav Benjamini

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

117 Scopus citations


The scientific community is increasingly concerned with the proportion of published “discoveries” that are not replicated in subsequent studies. The field of rodent behavioral phenotyping was one of the first to raise this concern, and to relate it to other methodological issues: the complex interaction between genotype and environment; the definitions of behavioral constructs; and the use of laboratory mice and rats as model species for investigating human health and disease mechanisms. In January 2015, researchers from various disciplines gathered at Tel Aviv University to discuss these issues. The general consensus was that the issue is prevalent and of concern, and should be addressed at the statistical, methodological and policy levels, but is not so severe as to call into question the validity and the usefulness of model organisms as a whole. Well-organized community efforts, coupled with improved data and metadata sharing, have a key role in identifying specific problems and promoting effective solutions. Replicability is closely related to validity, may affect generalizability and translation of findings, and has important ethical implications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)218-232
Number of pages15
JournalNeuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews
StatePublished - Apr 2018


FundersFunder number
National Institutes of HealthDA045401, AA018776
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and AlcoholismU01AA013519
Seventh Framework Programme294519
European Research Council
Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad


    • Data sharing
    • False discoveries
    • GxE interaction
    • Heterogenization
    • Replicability
    • Reproducibility
    • Validity


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