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De Vries, P and Murk, AJ (2013)

Compliance of LC50 and NOEC data with Benford's Law: An indication of reliability?

Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 98, pp. 171–178.

ISSN/ISBN: Not available at this time. DOI: 10.1016/j.ecoenv.2013.09.002

Abstract: Reliability of research data is essential, especially when potentially far-reaching conclusions will be based on them. This is also, amongst others, the case for ecotoxicological data used in risk assessment. Currently, several approaches are available to classify the reliability of ecotoxicological data. The process of classification, such as using the Klimisch score, is time-consuming and focuses on the application of standardised protocols and the documentation of the study. The presence of irregularities and the integrity of the performed work, however, are not addressed. The present study shows that Benford's Law, based on the occurrence of first digits following a logarithmic scale, can be applied to ecotoxicity test data for identifying irregularities. This approach is already successfully applied in accounting. Benford's Law can be used as reliability indicator, in addition to existing reliability classifications. The law can be used to efficiently trace irregularities in large data sets of interpolated (no) effect concentrations such as LC50s (possibly the result of data manipulation), without having to evaluate the source of each individual record. Application of the law to systems in which large amounts of toxicity data are registered (e.g., European Commission Regulation concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) can therefore be valuable.

@article{deVries2013171, title = "Compliance of \{LC50\} and \{NOEC\} data with Benford's Law: An indication of reliability? ", journal = "Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety ", volume = "98", number = "0", pages = "171 - 178", year = "2013", note = "", issn = "0147-6513", doi = "", url = "", author = "Pepijn de Vries and Albertinka J. Murk", }

Reference Type: Journal Article

Subject Area(s): Biology, Environmental Sciences