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      Does Chemical Engineering Research Have a Reproducibility Problem?

      1 , 1 , 1

      Annual Review of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

      Annual Reviews

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          Abstract

          Concerns have been raised in multiple scientific fields in recent years about the reproducibility of published results. Systematic efforts to examine this issue have been undertaken in biomedicine and psychology, but less is known about this important issue in the materials-oriented research that underpins much of modern chemical engineering. Here, we relate a dramatic historical episode from our own institution to illustrate the implications of performing reproducible research and describe two case studies based on literature analysis to provide concrete information on the reproducibility of modern materials-oriented research. The two case studies deal with the properties of metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), a class of materials that have generated tens of thousands of papers. We do not claim that research on MOFs is less (or more) reproducible than other subfields; rather, we argue that the characteristics of this subfield are common to many areas of materials-oriented research. We conclude with specific recommendations for action by individual researchers, journal editors, publishers, and research communities.

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          Most cited references 32

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          Postsynthetic methods for the functionalization of metal-organic frameworks.

           Myron S Cohen (2012)
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            Can metal-organic framework materials play a useful role in large-scale carbon dioxide separations?

             M Buchem,  D SHOLL,  S Keskin (2010)
            Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) are a fascinating class of crystalline nanoporous materials that can be synthesized with a diverse range of pore dimensions, topologies, and chemical functionality. As with other well-known nanoporous materials, such as activated carbon and zeolites, MOFs have potential uses in a range of chemical separation applications because of the possibility of selective adsorption and diffusion of molecules in their pores. We review the current state of knowledge surrounding the possibility of using MOFs in large-scale carbon dioxide separations. There are reasons to be optimistic that MOFs may make useful contributions to this important problem, but there are several critical issues for which only very limited information is available. By identifying these issues, we provide what we hope is a path forward to definitively answering the question posed in our title.
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              Increasing value and reducing waste in biomedical research: who's listening?

              The biomedical research complex has been estimated to consume almost a quarter of a trillion US dollars every year. Unfortunately, evidence suggests that a high proportion of this sum is avoidably wasted. In 2014, The Lancet published a series of five reviews showing how dividends from the investment in research might be increased from the relevance and priorities of the questions being asked, to how the research is designed, conducted, and reported. 17 recommendations were addressed to five main stakeholders-funders, regulators, journals, academic institutions, and researchers. This Review provides some initial observations on the possible effects of the Series, which seems to have provoked several important discussions and is on the agendas of several key players. Some examples of individual initiatives show ways to reduce waste and increase value in biomedical research. This momentum will probably move strongly across stakeholder groups, if collaborative relationships evolve between key players; further important work is needed to increase research value. A forthcoming meeting in Edinburgh, UK, will provide an initial forum within which to foster the collaboration needed.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Annual Review of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
                Annu. Rev. Chem. Biomol. Eng.
                Annual Reviews
                1947-5438
                1947-5446
                June 07 2019
                June 07 2019
                : 10
                : 1
                : 43-57
                Affiliations
                [1 ]School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia 30332–0100, USA;
                Article
                10.1146/annurev-chembioeng-060718-030323
                © 2019

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