Postgraduate Medical Institute, Anglia Ruskin University, Chelmsford, UK
Approximately four years that have passed since the publication of the MIQE guidelines, allowing an objective assessment of their impact on qPCR-based research. The picture is rather mixed: on the plus-side, the MIQE paper itself is seeing significantly increased month-on-month citation rates and there has been and continues to be widespread publicity around MIQE, with numerous web seminars, workshops and information leaflets spreading the message of transparency and standardisation. In addition, the keen engagement by many instrument and reagent manufacturers, led by BioRad and Agilent, has been a very positive development, resulting in a very high level of expertise amongst their field application specialists. How well researchers implement the MIQE guidelines is another issue, and here the picture is far less positive. Not all manufacturers take the guidelines seriously and many researchers, especially at the principal investigation level, are perfectly content to continue publishing data of questionable biological relevance. Most frustratingly, the editors of most high impact factor journals have not seen the need to encourage the use of the guidelines by their contributors, the BMC group of journals being the honourable exception. Ultimately, the technical standard of scientific publications will not increase until there is some incentive to follow guidelines and, although areas of qPCR-based research continue to spread, improved reagents are launched and analysis methods are becoming increasingly sophisticated, the quality of the research output remains suspect.
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