Low reproducibility in preclinical research is a widely-debated topic. The consequences of irreproducibility are manifold, the most obvious being reduced efficiency in the development of new treatments, the cost in animal lives, the waste of billions of US$ per year in the USA alone (Freedman et al. 2017) as well as the loss of trust in science.
Various efforts have been undertaken to increase reproducibility in animal research. Guidelines for experimental design and reporting have been formulated, e.g. PREPARE (Smith et al. 2018) and ARRIVE guidelines (Kilkenny et al. 2010, Percie du Sert 2020a, b), and funding bodies are actively fostering the sharing of data which is open and FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable; Wilkinson et al. 2016) (European Open Science Cloud in the EU, Science Data Commons in the US).
In addition, large research consortia, such as the International Mouse Phenotyping Consortium (IMPC), which aim to phenotype knockouts for all protein-coding genes in the mouse genome, are driving improvements through standardisation of procedures and sharing of data.
INFRAFRONTIER is the European Research Infrastructure for the generation, phenotyping, archiving and distribution of model mammalian genomes. INFRAFRONTIER provides centralised access to mouse and rat models, data, and scientific platforms and services to study the functional role of the genome in human health and disease. The core services comprise model generation, archiving and distribution of mouse mutant lines by the European Mouse Mutant Archive (EMMA), and systemic phenotyping of mouse mutants in the participating mouse clinics. Systemic phenotyping, as used in the INFRAFRONTIER context, means the systematic analysis of mutant mice through a standardised phenotyping pipeline across a range of biological systems to infer gene function.
The INFRAFRONTIER consortium is currently formed by 29 partners across 14 European countries and Canada, with most of the mouse clinics also being members of the IMPC network. Accordingly, its contribution to enhancing reproducibility in biomedical research is characterised by providing centralised open access to high-quality scientific data, biomedical services and resources, and through the sharing of knowledge. As a large distributed research infrastructure, it is the mission of INFRAFRONTIER to deliver reliable services and reproducible data while advancing animal research in accordance with the 3Rs (Replacement, Reduction, Refinement).