Actions taken

The Rescuing Biomedical Research Steering Committee intends to develop and catalyze the implementation of creative and effective policies that address the systemic flaws in the biomedical research enterprise. This is accomplished through the work of RBR working groups and individual efforts by RBR members.

Resolved working groups


Excerpted from

A preprint is a complete scientific manuscript that is uploaded by the authors to a public server. The preprint contains complete data and methodologies; it is often the same manuscript being submitted to a journal. After a brief quality-control inspection to ensure that the work is scientific in nature, the author’s manuscript is posted within a day or so on the Web without peer review and can be viewed without charge by anyone in the world. Preprints allow scientists to directly control the dissemination of their work to the world-wide scientific community. In most cases, the same work posted as preprint also is submitted for peer review at a journal. Thus, preprints (rapid, but not validated through peer-review) and journal publication (slow, but providing validation using peer-review) work in parallel as a communication system for scientific research.

ASAPbio began as an RBR working group that blossomed into a full-fledged organization created to engage the biological and biomedical communities in discussing the how preprints could speed the communication of results. ASAPbio has held a series of public meetings on these issues and is moving forward on a variety of issues. The goals of RBR remain aligned with those of ASAPbio in the need to improve the speed with which results are communicated in the life sciences. This working group was discontinued in Sep. 2016.

Members: Daniel Colón-Ramos, Jessica Polka, Ron Vale, Harold Varmus

Other actions taken

  • Shirley Tilghman and Harold Varmus, with assistance from Francis Collins and Sally Rockey, prepared a document describing the initiatives the NIH has undertaken to address issues related to the Rescuing Biomedical Research mission.
  • Rescuing Biomedical Research stands ready to assist in organizing meetings at research organizations to consider solutions to the complex problems confronting the research enterprise.
    • At the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Judith Kimble and Marsha Mailick organized campus-wide discussions about the future of biomedical research that culminated in a well-attended, daylong conference. Their work provides a terrific blueprint for the kinds of brainstorming and vetting that will be essential to develop wise paths forward. The conclusions of the workshops were recently published as well as a blog on how they conducted their workshops. Shirley Tilghman also highlighted this work.


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