Reproducible Research Practices in the Plastic Surgery Literature

Mona Ascha, Leila Katabi, Erica Stevens, James Gatherwright, Matthew Vassar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Reproducible research - defined as the ability to replicate a study with its published materials and procedures - is integral to ensuring the validity of published studies and promoting scientific advancement. The primary aim of this study was to quantitatively evaluate the reproducibility and transparency of research in the plastic surgery literature. Methods: A cross-sectional study was performed. Articles published in 12 plastic surgery journals over a 5-year period were randomly selected. Reproducibility-related and transparency-related variables were blindly and independently collected by two reviewers using previously published methods. Descriptive statistics and univariate analysis were performed for outcomes of interest. Results: The initial search yielded 18,461 publications, from which 400 were randomly selected. A total of 397 publications met inclusion criteria, of which 203 were empirical studies eligible for analysis of reproducibility-related and transparency-related variables. Among the empirical studies, most did not have a data availability statement (97.0 percent; 95 percent CI, 93.7 to 98.9). Only seven (3.4 percent; 95 percent CI, 1.4 to 7.0) were linked to an accessible protocol, four (2.0 percent; 95 percent CI, 0.5 to 5.0) were preregistered, and no studies provided analysis scripts or claimed to replicate another study. Of the 202 studies evaluated for material availability, only 17 (8.4 percent; 95 percent CI, 5.0 to 13.1) had a material availability statement. Conclusions: There is an evident lack of reproducible research practices in plastic surgery literature. The majority of plastic surgery publications do not provide information and raw materials necessary to reproduce empirical studies. Increasing awareness at the individual and institutional levels can improve research quality and transparency.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)810E-823E
JournalPlastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Volume149
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2022

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