Reproducibility: Crisis or Not?

Here are the results of a Nature survey on reproducibility in the scientific literature. They themselves admit that it’s a "confusing snapshot", but it shows that we're still arguing about what "reproducibility" means. 52% of the responders (over 1500 scientists) said that there was "a significant crisis", though, so this issue is on people’s minds. Interestingly, chemists were among the most confidant in the literature of their own field (physics and engineering as well). At the same time, chemists had the highest proportion of respondents who said that they'd been unable to reproduce someone else's experiment. I don't think that's necessarily a contradiction, though. Chemistry is a field with lower barriers to replication than many others, and we also probably do more replications in general.

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  • 1,500 scientists lift the lid on reproducibility

    More than 70% of researchers have tried and failed to reproduce another scientist's experiments, and more than half have failed to reproduce their own experiments. Those are some of the telling figures that emerged from Nature's survey of 1,576 researchers who took a brief online questionnaire on reproducibility in research. The data reveal sometimes-contradictory attitudes towards reproducibility. Although 52% of those surveyed agree that there is a significant 'crisis' of reproducibility, less than 31% think that failure to reproduce published results means that the result is probably wrong, and most say that they still trust the published literature.

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  • Contextual sensitivity in scientific reproducibility

    Scientific progress requires that findings can be reproduced by other scientists. However, there is widespread debate in psychology (and other fields) about how to interpret failed replications. Many have argued that contextual factors might account for several of these failed replications. We analyzed 100 replication attempts in psychology and found that the extent to which the research topic was likely to be contextually sensitive (varying in time, culture, or location) was associated with replication success. This relationship remained a significant predictor of replication success even after adjusting for characteristics of the original and replication studies that previously had been associated with replication success (e.g., effect size, statistical power). We offer recommendations for psychologists and other scientists interested in reproducibility.

    Money back guarantees for non-reproducible results?

    Money back guarantees are generally unheard of in biomedicine and healthcare. Recently, the US provider Geisenger Health System, in Pennsylvania, started a programme to give patients their money back if they were dissatisfied. That came as quite a surprise. Soon thereafter, the chief medical officer at Merck launched an even bigger one, proposing an "incentive-based approach" to non-reproducible results—what he termed a "reproducibility crisis" that "threatens the entire biomedical research enterprise."

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  • [email protected] Increasing Openness and Reproducibility in Agricultural Research

    There are many actions researchers can take to increase the openness and reproducibility of their work. This introductory webinar from the Center for Open Science is aimed at faculty, staff, and students involved in agricultural research. Participants will gain a foundation for incorporating reproducible, transparent practices into their current workflows.

    Pain and Laboratory Animals: Publication Practices for Better Data Reproducibility and Better Animal Welfare

    We report that publication guidelines focus more on other potential sources of bias in experimental results, under-appreciate the potential for pain and pain drugs to skew data, and thus mostly treat pain management as solely an animal welfare concern, in the jurisdiction of animal care and use committees. At the same time, animal welfare regulations do not include guidance on publishing animal data, even though publication is an integral part of the cycle of research and can affect the welfare of animals in studies building on published work, leaving it to journals and authors to voluntarily decide what details of animal use to publish. We suggest that journals, scientists and animal welfare regulators should revise current guidelines and regulations, on treatment of pain and on transparent reporting of treatment of pain, to improve this dual welfare and data-quality deficiency.