Can Orthopaedics become the Gold Standard for Reproducibility? A Roadmap to Success

Research output: Working paperPreprint


Background Scientific research is replete with poor accessibility to data, materials, and protocol, which limits the reproducibility of a study. Transparency with regard to materials, protocols, and raw data sets enhances reproducibility by providing the critical information necessary to verify, replicate, and resynthesize research findings. The extent to which transparency and reproducibility exist in the field of orthopaedics is unclear. In our study, we aimed to evaluate transparency and reproducibility-related characteristics of randomly sampled publications in orthopaedic journals.Methods We used the National Library of Medicine catalog to identify English language and MEDLINE-indexed orthopaedic journals. From the 74 journals meeting our inclusion criteria, we randomly sampled 300 publications using a refined PubMed search that were published between January 1, 2014, and December 31, 2018. Two investigators were trained for data extraction and analysis. Both investigators were blinded and independently extracted data from the 300 studies.Results Our initial search yielded 68,102 publications, from which we drew a random sample of 300 publications. Of these 300 publications, 286 were screened for empirical data and 14 were inaccessible. For analysis purposes, we excluded publications without empirical data. Of the 182 with empirical data, 13 studies (7.1%) included a data availability statement, 9 (4.9%) reported materials were available, none (0.0%) provided analysis scripts, 2 (1.1%) provided access to the protocol used, 5 (2.7%) were preregistered, and only 2 (1.1%) provided a statement about being a replicated study.Conclusions Components necessary for reproducibility are lacking in orthopaedic surgery journals. The vast majority of publications did not provide data or material availability statements, protocols, or analysis scripts, and had no preregistration statements. Intervention is needed to improve reproducibility in the field of orthopaedics. The current state of reproducibility in orthopaedic surgery could be improved by combined efforts from funding agencies, authors, peer reviewers, and journals alike.Level of Evidence N/A
Original languageAmerican English
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2019

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