Why we started Riffyn

Riffyn was launched in 2014 with a mission to make it easier and faster to do reproducible science. We are building on the achievements of legions of brilliant scientists and engineers who showed us the tools and technologies to do just that.

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A Swan in the Making

Reproducibility is the ugly duckling of science. It provokes distress, denial, and passionate calls for action.

With $1.5 trillion spent globally each year on R&D,* the idea that 80% of it is irreproducible can cause downright dread. It threatens the foundations and credibility of the scientific enterprise. But look past the surface, and reproducibility may well be a swan in the making.

Achieving reproducibility in every lab may offer one of the greatest opportunities in decades to advance the practice of science. The path to transformation already exists; we need only look into the “unsexy” world of manufacturing to learn.

If we look at the history of manufacturing automobiles and electronics, the transformation starts by acknowledging, and then breaking barriers to quality, and finally introducing automation. This same line of thinking built that device in your pocket. Riffyn is building tools to automate data acquisition via mobile devices (like that one in your pocket), break down lab procedures into modular steps that are evolvable and reusable, and automatically analyze data trends within and across experiments to catch errors and their root causes. 

Shaping Reproducible Research with the Humble Experiment

The Global Biological Standards Institute estimated that 50% of published academic research was flawed or incorrect—suggesting that $30B per year of R&D spending in the United States is lost on unreliable/unrepeatable scientific research.[2] But that number is a vast underestimate of the magnitude of the problem. Globally, more than $400B per year is spent on process-based academic and industrial R&D. If we assume a 25% error rate globally (just half of that reported), it implies that we lose more than $100B per year on flawed R&D.[3]

The instrument of change? The Experiment. No longer is the experiment the quiet accessory to the hypothesis. The experiment is the fundamental unit of science. In its most modern incantation, and experiment is a tool for gathering data. The experiment is a measurement device like a caliper, or a spectrometer.

Read more about how Riffyn has elevated the experiment from its hypothetical origin in our Discovery and Engineering blogs.


Read an expanded version of our take on the experiment as the primary tool for reproducibility in Science"A Swan in the Making" by Timothy Gardiner, CEO. 


Manufacturing Strain Productivity: Errors decrease, production yields increase


If we look at the history of automobile production, there's a clear correlation between efficient design (automation), error reduction (reproducible parts), and high product yield (more cars!).

We can apply the same notion of production streamlining and error reduction that made some companies in the automotive industry thrive, to bioengineering. When you treat an experiment as a thing, like a car, you create a supply chain of scientific methods and experimental data (experimental "parts"), and the final product is knowledge of unassailable quality. When you pass around methods and data like that, a whole explosion of computationally-enabled “goodness” will rain down upon science. And the pace of discovery will leap, just like it did for the automotive industry.

Want to see how Riffyn has already been doing this?

Our Oakland, CA based team is composed of consultants, engineers, product designers, commercial professionals and advisors that all abide by some easy guiding principles to create maximum efficiency and impact in everything we do. Riffyn is a thriving and respectful working community.  Join the Team.


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