Wiki pledge and recommendations

We used the results from our report on transparency and negative results to develop a set of wiki guidlines; the "iGEM Stockholm wiki pledge". We have also developed a set of recommendations for future iGEM teams and for the iGEM Foundation. We hope these recommendations can help improve transparency and negative results within iGEM.

Stockholm iGEM wiki pledge:

A clear border between ideas and results

    All ideas are linked to hypotheses, every hypothesis is linked to a follow up

  • An overarching idea can be visionary but it should be broken down into the ideas that will actually be tested in the scope of the project.
  • Ideas are further defined as testable hypotheses.
  • Every hypothesis is connected to one or several practical experiments.
  • Every stated hypothesis is clearly linked to a written follow-up.
    • A hypothesis is stated for each experiment

  • All experiments are listed along with their purposes and the hypothesis they are meant to test. Experiments are linked to their results.
  • A result can be positive, negative, inconclusive, unfinished or not started. Results that are inconclusive, unfinished or not started include an explanation for why that was the case.
  • Every tested hypothesis is clearly linked to a written follow-up.
  • Results are reported equally and thoroughly

      Negative results are reported

  • Negative results are defined as conclusive results that do not support the tested hypothesis.
  • Results that are not conclusive should be very clearly defined as such. Data from results that are not conclusive can be omitted from the wiki. Observed trends in case of inconclusive results can be reported in the follow up.
    • Priority is given to conclusive and critical results

  • When choosing which result to give the most space on the wiki, priority should be given to results that are conclusive and critical, even if this completely disproves a hypothesis that the project is based on.
    • Results are presented thoroughly

  • Conclusive results are presented thoroughly enough that it’s possible for future teams to determine if a part, biobrick or protocol has worked as described in the idea part of the wiki.
  • Borrowed and attributed ideas are declared

      Attributions are clearly stated

  • Attributions are clearly stated in text each time a non-original idea or result is introduced.
  • A separate page lists detailed attributions and how they were used in the project.
  • Recommendations

    Recommendations for Future iGEM Teams

    Have a clear border between ideas and results

    It is important to differentiate your design ideas from your actual results. This can be done by displaying them on separate pages on your wiki. For clarity you should mark the status of your results as; positive, negative, inconclusive or unfinished.

    Report your results equally and thoroughly

    Always show conclusive results, even if they don’t prove your hypothesis. Apply statistics to your results whenever possible and include it on your wiki. In addition, it is good to include contact details so that future iGEM teams can contact you with questions or to receive raw data.

    Above all, remember the iGEM values; integrity, good sportsmanship, respect and honesty.

    Recommendations for the iGEM Foundation

    Review the judging criteria

    Valuing positive results more than significant results does not create a beneficial research environment in the long run. The iGEM Foundation has a unique opportunity to influence hundreds of future researchers each year. By rewarding teams that present conclusive results, whether they are positive or not, the foundation would emphasise good research conduct. For example; showing that your results are conclusive could be a Silver Medal requirement, while producing a new functional BioBrick could be a Gold Medal requirement.

    Promote well structured wikis

    Besides the judging criteria wiki requirements and guidelines are a powerful way to influence iGEM teams. Promoting wiki structures that clearly separate ideas from results would benefit future iGEM teams.

    Provide information about negative results and transparency

    Many iGEM teams have little or no research experience when they join the iGEM competition. The iGEM foundation could help teams by providing information on how to analyze data and draw conclusions from it.