Whats the problem?
So you’ve found the antibodies you need for your experiments (hopefully using CiteAb!), they helped you get some great results and now you’re ready to write your paper. How do you report the antibodies you used, it should be easy right?
Perhaps not! What is surprising is that less than half of antibodies used in publications can even be identified!, this makes it harder for everybody else to reproduce and build on published work.
Below are some simple guidelines to help you cite your antibodies and ensure others can understand what you did and most importantly reproduce your work. They are based on our recent publication on antibody reporting (Helsby et al), so if you’d like more details and references, check it out.
Make sure the antibodies can be identified
This simple first step can easily be achieved for commercial antibodies by including the company and catalogue code. For academic antibodies give the name of the academic, the reference and if relevant the clone number. The Resource Identification Initiative offers an interesting alternative by providing unique identifiers for antibodies and other reagents
What did you use the antibodies for?
If you carried out several different types of experiments, make it clear which antibody was used with which application.
Which species did you use?
You may have used cell lines isolated from different species, so if there is a possible cause for confusion, other scientists will love you if you make it easy and say which antibodies worked in which species.
Help convince the reviewers and other readers you know what you are doing by showing the antibodies you use have been validated. We think this is best done by citing published work or by carrying out validation and including it in your paper.
Putting it all together
There is always more than one way to do anything! and there are many ways this key information can be presented. We give you two suggestions below,
Antibody Reporting Version 1
Western blotting was carried out using our favourite method ……. The following antibodies were used; mouse anti-protein A monoclonal antibody (Company E, catalogue number #1000) was used with human cells as validated in (Reference X) .
Antibody Reporting Version 2
The following antibodies were used, mouse anti-protein A monoclonal antibody (Company E, catalogue number #1000) was used for Western blotting and ELISA with human cells as validated in (Reference X) .
Well what do you think? Is there a better way of doing it? What have we missed? Are we telling you the blindingly obvious? What do you think of current antibody reporting? Let us know.
Andy and the CiteAb team.
For more details see our original paper in F1000Research: Helsby MA, Fenn JR and Chalmers AD (2013) Reporting research antibody use: how to increase experimental reproducibility [v2; ref status: indexed, http://f1000r.es/1np] F1000Research 2013, 2:153 (doi: 10.12688/f1000research.2-153.v2)