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RRIDs, a product of FORCE11 seem to improve the scientific literature

Research Resource Identifiers (RRIDs) are short, alphanumeric tags for antibodies, model organisms, cell lines, and tools (such as software and databases) that are typically used in the methods section of a paper. SciCrunch, the curator of RRIDs, works with community authorities such as the Cellosaurus database, which contains a lot of information about a cell line including any warnings about contamination or misidentification.

RRIDs are a product of the Resource Identification Initiative, FORCE11 working group (now concluded). However, while the working group has concluded, the group that provides RRIDs to authors is still working diligently. 

The thing about RRIDs is that they are essentially database records that are accessed by the author before he or she publishes a paper. These records can contain a warning. 

In a large text mining study, published today, Babic et al (2019; show that compared to the overall rate of use of the cell lines on the "bad list", the RRID literature contains fewer cell lines on this "bad list". The most likely explanation for this difference is that warning authors with a big red message, seem to be effective. We should note that not all cell lines on this "bad list" are actually bad, especially if the authors are aware of, for example, the true identity of the cell line, so many of these are safe to use. 

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Publication Date: 29th January 2019


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