Researchers are central to the endeavors of maintaining research reproducibility. Here are some steps you can take today to improve reproducibility for the long term.


Understand


  • When finding commercial antibody products, confirm the methods of validation and quality control. Is every lot of product tested? How is it tested? Ask for data if needed.
  • Is the manufacturer well known and well respected in the research industry? Ask colleagues who might be familiar. Biocompare's Antibody Market Report is a good resource.
  • Does the reagent manufacturer have a product guarantee?
  • Does the reagent manufacturer have a defined quality management system? Look for ISO certification to ensure that the manufacturer meets international standards.
  • Is the antibody product published and peer reviewed? Look for third party independent reviews like those on biocompare.com or selectscience.com.
  • Contact technical support before buying if you have any questions.
  • If you're not familiar with a technique, get trained on it by a qualified expert before you start. BioLegend and other companies can also provide applications training as needed.


Validate


  • When starting with a new antibody reagent, verify that it is the most appropriate product for your application. Most antibodies don't work across all applications.
  • Regardless of the manufacturer's validation, confirm that the reagent works for your application. Some ideas are below:
    • Cross-compare antibodies from multiple manufacturers.
    • Confirm specificity by orthogonal methods, ie. use ELISA to confirm that your flow cytometry anti-IL-2 antibody is correctly recognizing IL-2.
    • Always use positive and negative controls, such as isotype controls for flow cytometry. Also, consider validating with positive and negative cell lines where you would expect the target to be expressed or not expressed.
    • Perform titrations of the antibody to verify that your antibody binding is dosage-specific.
    • Use knockout or knockdown cell lines to confirm specificity.


Document


  • When new products come into the lab, document the manufacturer, catalog numbers, and lot numbers.
  • Always document dilutions or concentrations of reagents used in assays.
  • When publishing, always indicate the manufacturer and catalog numbers or RRIDs of products used.
  • Submit supplemental data whenever possible.