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
A hypothesis is stated for each experiment
Results are reported equally and thoroughly
Negative results are reported
Priority is given to conclusive and critical results
Results are presented thoroughly
Borrowed and attributed ideas are declared
Attributions are clearly stated
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.