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Research Synthesis and Meta-research in Biology

meta3Guest Editors: Shinichi Nakagawa, Julia Koricheva, Malcolm Macleod, Wolfgang Viechtbauer

Research synthesis is the process of bringing together findings from different publications, with the aim of providing a more complete description of phenomena than is usually possible in a single work. It has become an indispensable part of science and its applications are rapidly expanding. At the same time, research synthesis methodologies are undergoing unprecedented changes. Meanwhile, meta-research or research of research (also known as ‘meta-science’) has emerged as a new field; this new field, by its nature, extensively uses research synthesis methodology. This series brings together research and methodology articles in the field.

  1. Researchers performing high-quality systematic reviews search across multiple databases to identify relevant evidence. However, the same publication is often retrieved from several databases. Identifying and r...

    Authors: Kaitlyn Hair, Zsanett Bahor, Malcolm Macleod, Jing Liao and Emily S. Sena
    Citation: BMC Biology 2023 21:189
  2. Collaborative efforts to directly replicate empirical studies in the medical and social sciences have revealed alarmingly low rates of replicability, a phenomenon dubbed the ‘replication crisis’. Poor replicab...

    Authors: Yefeng Yang, Alfredo Sánchez-Tójar, Rose E. O’Dea, Daniel W. A. Noble, Julia Koricheva, Michael D. Jennions, Timothy H. Parker, Malgorzata Lagisz and Shinichi Nakagawa
    Citation: BMC Biology 2023 21:71
  3. Circadian rhythms are important for all aspects of biology; virtually every aspect of biological function varies according to time of day. Although this is well known, variation across the day is also often ig...

    Authors: Randy J. Nelson, Jacob R. Bumgarner, Jennifer A. Liu, Jharnae A. Love, O. Hecmarie Meléndez-Fernández, Darius D. Becker-Krail, William H. Walker II, James C. Walton, A. Courtney DeVries and Brian J. Prendergast
    Citation: BMC Biology 2022 20:142
  4. The role of dietary branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) and their effect on metabolic health is complex. How dietary BCAA levels and their interaction with background nutrition affect health is unclear. Here, w...

    Authors: Samantha M. Solon-Biet, Lucy Griffiths, Sophie Fosh, David G. Le Couteur, Stephen J. Simpson and Alistair M. Senior
    Citation: BMC Biology 2022 20:19
  5. Over 120 million mice and rats are used annually in research, conventionally housed in shoebox-sized cages that restrict natural behaviours (e.g. nesting and burrowing). This can reduce physical fitness, impai...

    Authors: Jessica Cait, Alissa Cait, R. Wilder Scott, Charlotte B. Winder and Georgia J. Mason
    Citation: BMC Biology 2022 20:15
  6. Resistance and tolerance are two coexisting defense strategies for fighting infections. Resistance is mediated by signaling pathways that induce transcriptional activation of resistance factors that directly e...

    Authors: Human Riahi, Michaela Fenckova, Kayla J. Goruk, Annette Schenck and Jamie M. Kramer
    Citation: BMC Biology 2021 19:112
  7. Unreliable research programmes waste funds, time, and even the lives of the organisms we seek to help and understand. Reducing this waste and increasing the value of scientific evidence require changing the ac...

    Authors: Rose E. O’Dea, Timothy H. Parker, Yung En Chee, Antica Culina, Szymon M. Drobniak, David H. Duncan, Fiona Fidler, Elliot Gould, Malika Ihle, Clint D. Kelly, Malgorzata Lagisz, Dominique G. Roche, Alfredo Sánchez-Tójar, David P. Wilkinson, Bonnie C. Wintle and Shinichi Nakagawa
    Citation: BMC Biology 2021 19:68
  8. Meta-analysis is often used to make generalisations across all available evidence at the global scale. But how can these global generalisations be used for evidence-based decision making at the local scale, if...

    Authors: Gorm E. Shackelford, Philip A. Martin, Amelia S. C. Hood, Alec P. Christie, Elena Kulinskaya and William J. Sutherland
    Citation: BMC Biology 2021 19:33
  9. Growing evidence shows that scientific collaboration plays a crucial role in transformative innovation in the life sciences. For example, contemporary drug discovery and development reflects the work of teams ...

    Authors: Feixiong Cheng, Yifang Ma, Brian Uzzi and Joseph Loscalzo
    Citation: BMC Biology 2020 18:138
  10. Life-history theory predicts a trade-off between investment into immune defence and other fitness-related traits. Accordingly, individuals are expected to upregulate their immune response when subjected to imm...

    Authors: M. Nystrand and D. K. Dowling
    Citation: BMC Biology 2020 18:135