Maximizing Shared Research Resources: Next Steps
Shared research resources (SRRs) promote access and training to advanced technologies and applications for a diverse array of trainees, faculty, students, and staff. Institutions and the broader research community benefit from the expertise and reputation of SRRs, their efficient use of research funds, and their positive impact on faculty recruitment and retention. Moreover, as contemporary science has become increasingly multidisciplinary and team based, SRRs are the nexus for basic discovery and the application of new groundbreaking technologies, with data as the key deliverable. However, despite their track record of accomplishments, barriers continue to exist, hindering SRRs essential role in modern research and highlighting the need for a national strategy to ensure their sustainability. The recommendations from the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) SRR Task Force publication "Maximizing SRR part III" and subsequent roundtable meetings have spurred efforts for strengthening shared resources, achieving career recognition and parity, and elevating team science to its full potential. This JBT special issue focuses on these efforts, with contributions from members of the Association of Biomolecular Resource Facilities and FASEB Task Force.
Addressing the Environmental Impact of Science Through a More Rigorous, Reproducible, and Sustainable Conduct of Research
The pervasiveness of irreproducible research remains a thorny problem for the progress of scientific endeavor, spawning an abundance of opinion, investigation, and proposals for improvement. Irreproducible research has negative consequences beyond the obvious impact on achieving new scientific discoveries that can advance healthcare and enable new technologies. The conduct of science is resource intensive, resulting in a large environmental impact from even the smallest research programs. There is value in making explicit connections between the conduct of more rigorous, reproducible science and commitments to environmental sustainability. Shared research resources (also commonly known as cores) often have an institutional role in supporting researchers in the responsible conduct of research through training, informal mentorship, and services and are particularly well suited to promulgating essential principles of scientific rigor, reproducibility, and transparency. Shared research resources can also play a role in advancing sustainability by virtue of their inherently efficient science model in which singular shared equipment, technology, and expertise resources can serve many different research programs. Programs that elevate shared research resources, scientific rigor, reproducibility, transparency, and environment sustainability in harmony may achieve a unique synergy. Several case studies and quality paradigms are discussed that offer tools and concepts that can be adapted whole or in part by individual shared research resources or research-intensive institutions as part of an overall program of sustainability.
Rigor, Reproducibility, and Transparency in Shared Research Resources: Follow-Up Survey and Recommendations for Improvements
Rigor, reproducibility, and transparency (RR&T) are essential components of all scientific pursuits. Shared research resources, also known as core facilities, are on the frontlines of ensuring robust RR&T practices. The Association of Biomolecular Resource Facilities Committee on Core Rigor and Reproducibility conducted a follow-up survey 4 years after the initial 2017 survey to determine if core facilities have seen a positive impact of new RR&T initiatives (including guidance from the National Institutes of Health, new scientific journal requirements on transparency and data provenance, and educational tools from professional organizations). While there were fewer participants in the most recent survey, the respondents' opinions on the role of core facilities and level of best practices adoption remained the same. Overall, the respondents agreed that procedures should be implemented by core facilities to ensure scientific RR&T. They also indicated that there is a strong correlation between institutions that emphasize RR&T and core customers using this expertise in grant applications and publications. The survey also assessed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on core operations and RR&T. The answers to these pandemic-related questions revealed that many of the strategies aimed at increasing efficiencies are also best practices related to RR&T, including the development of standard operating procedures, supply chain management, and cross training. Given the consistent and compelling awareness of the importance of RR&T expressed by core directors in 2017 and 2021 contrasted with the lack of apparent improvements over this time period, the authors recommend an adoption of RR&T statements by all core laboratories. Adhering to the RR&T guidelines will result in more efficient training, better compliance, and improved experimental approaches empowering cores to become "rigor champions."
Reopening During the Unprecedented: The Association of Biomolecular Resource Facilities Community Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic Response. Part 2: Efforts to Effectively Ramp Up Core Facility Activities
Shared research resources, also known as core facilities, serve a crucial role in supporting research, training, and other needs for their respective institutions. In response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, all but the most critical laboratory research was halted in many institutions around the world. The Association of Biomolecular Resource Facilities conducted 2 surveys to understand and document institutional responses to the COVID-19 pandemic from core facility perspectives. The first survey was focused on initial pandemic response and efforts to sustainably ramp down core facility operations. The second survey, which is the subject of this study, focused on understanding the approaches taken to ramp up core facility operations after these ramp-down procedures. The survey results revealed that many cores remained active during the ramp-down, performing essential COVID-19 research, and had a more coordinated institutional response for ramping up research as a whole. The lessons gained from this survey will be indexed to serve as a resource for the core facility community to understand, plan, and mitigate risk and disruptions in the event of future disasters.
Establishing a national strategy for shared research resources in biomedical sciences
Contemporary science has become increasingly multi-disciplinary and team-based, resulting in unprecedented growth in biomedical innovation and technology over the last several decades. Collaborative research efforts have enabled investigators to respond to the demands of an increasingly complex 21st century landscape, including pressing scientific challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic. A major contributing factor to the success of team science is the mobilization of core facilities and shared research resources (SRRs), the scientific instrumentation and expertise that exist within research organizations that enable widespread access to advanced technologies for trainees, faculty, and staff. For over 40Â years, SRRs have played a key role in accelerating biomedical research discoveries, yet a national strategy that addresses how to leverage these resources to enhance team science and achieve shared scientific goals is noticeably absent. We believe a national strategy for biomedical SRRs-led by the National Institutes of Health-is crucial to advance key national initiatives, enable long-term research efficiency, and provide a solid foundation for the next generation of scientists.
SRLs in a Global Pandemic: An Administrative Perspective [Editorial]
Preparing for the Unprecedented: The Association of Biomolecular Resource Facilities (ABRF) Community Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic Response Part 1: Efforts to Sustainably Ramp Down Core Facility Activities
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has curtailed all but the most critical laboratory research in many institutions around the world. These unplanned and unprecedented operational changes have put considerable stress on every aspect of the research enterprise, from funding agencies to research institutes, individual and core laboratories, researchers, and research administrators, with drastic changes in demands and deliverables. The Association of Biomolecular Resource Facilities Core Administrators Network Coordinating Committee initiated a forum-wide discussion followed by a global survey to gain information on how institutions and, specifically, shared resource core facilities were responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey aimed to identify shared resource core facility challenges and opportunities related to operational ramp downs, shutdowns, or research "pauses" during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as new practices and resources needed to ensure business continuity. Although a number of positive outcomes from remote work hold promise for improved core operations, the survey results revealed a surprising level of unfamiliarity with business continuity planning for cores and limited coordination within institutions. Recommendations for business continuity planning include key stakeholders working together to assess risk, prioritize work, and promote transparency across campus.
The abrf 2020 meeting: Empowering team science
The Association of Bimolecular Resource Facilities (ABRF) annual meeting was held in Palm Springs, California, USA on February 29-March 2, 2020. With 860 in attendance, the conference program featured five satellite workshops, one eminent scientist talk, four keynote talks, 24 sessions, 2 poster sessions, and fourteen technology showcases. The theme of the meeting "Empowering Team Science" encompassed bench to bedside, including extraterrestrial microbes, single cell "˜omics, multi "™omics, quantitative imaging, multidisciplinary research, shared resource management and precision medicine. Presentations on technology and applications for genomics, proteomics, metabolomics, bioinformatics, imaging and cytometry based multidisciplinary research from shared resource core laboratories continues to be the focus of the conference. Highlighted this year were the ABRF Research Groups and studies designed and analyzed to inform scientific rigor in research performed across multi institutional academic, government and industry laboratories.
Puerto Rico-INBRE Metabolomics Research Core
The PR-INBRE Metabolomics Research Core (MRC) is located at the University of Puerto Rico, Medical Sciences Campus, San Juan, Puerto Rico. The MRC is the only facility of this kind in Puerto Rico available as a shared resource free-of-charge for undergraduate, graduate students, faculty members from INBRE Network universities and beyond who are interested in collaboration with the MRC in the development of new technologies that applied metabolomics approach in Neuroscience, Molecular Medicine, Drug Development, Environmental and Behavioral Sciences. The MRC is also available as a shared resource on a fee-for-service basis for other investigators, industrial laboratories, and clinics. The MRC offers a diverse applications of metabolomics technology for studying and answering biomedical questions related to basic and translational research by offering a scientific seminars and training workshops, support in the developing and optimizing methods for targeted and untargeted detection and quantification of various metabolites ranging from amino acids, organic acids, vitamins, phosphates, sugars, polyamines, alcohols, fatty acids, and sterols using diverse biological matrices including tissues, cells, and biofluids (urine, blood, saliva) via gas chromatography/mass spectrometry. The MRC operates to ensure the best practices and analytical performance of the existed state-of-art instrumentation Shimadzu GC/MS QP2010 and TQ8050 GC/MS/MS. The MRC has established collaborations with other IDeA cores such as the University of Vermont Mass Spectrometry Core and Montana State University Proteomics, Metabolomics and Mass Spectrometry Facility and continue nurturing new and expanding established collaborations with the other investigators and Core facilities. The long-term goal of the MRC is to accelerate the competitiveness of investigators by providing translational research strengths to their discoveries. The MRC is supported by the PR-INBRE (NIGMS P20 GM103475).
A Review of the Scientific Rigor, Reproducibility, and Transparency Studies Conducted by the ABRF Research Groups
Shared research resource facilities, also known as core laboratories (Cores), are responsible for generating a significant and growing portion of the research data in academic biomedical research institutions. Cores represent a central repository for institutional knowledge management, with deep expertise in the strengths and limitations of technology and its applications. They inherently support transparency and scientific reproducibility by protecting against cognitive bias in research design and data analysis, and thedy have institutional responsibility for the conduct of research (research ethics, regulatory compliance, and financial accountability) performed in their Cores. The Association of Biomolecular Resource Facilities (ABRF) is a FASEB-member scientific society whose members are scientists and administrators that manage or support Cores. The ABRF Research Groups (RGs), representing expertise for an array of cutting-edge and established technology platforms, perform multicenter research studies to determine and communicate best practices and community-based standards. This review provides a summary of the contributions of the ABRF RGs to promote scientific rigor and reproducibility in Cores from the published literature, ABRF meetings, and ABRF RGs communications.