Having observed the institutionalized generation of publications touting irreproducible results, I read with interest the interview with Leonard P. Freedman (C&EN, Sept. 7, 2015, page 31). The four main causes of irreproducibility that Freedman identifies—inadequate laboratory protocols (11%), data analysis and reporting problems (25%), poor study design (28%), and improper use of biological reagents and reference materials (36%)—all seem to be education- and training-related.
Until we as a community recognize that having a degree, even an advanced degree, does not make someone an expert in all areas of chemistry and invest in the education and training of technical staff, I am afraid this problem will continue. I also believe this problem will continue until academic institutions recognize that students and students’ future employers are their customers and they modify undergraduate and graduate education.
Robert J. Kobelski