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In Science’s 2015 top stories: Non-reproducibility

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Here’s No. 3:

A surprising number of psychology studies can’t be reproduced A huge, collaborative research project attempted to recreate 100 studies that were recently published in major psychology journals, and it found that only 39 of those studies’ results could be replicated. That could mean that the studies were wrong in the first place, but researchers say that the findings tell more about the difficulty of designing a reproducible study than the accuracy of the studies themselves.

Studies need to be reproducible so that scientists can confirm their effects. That’s why scientists have generally pushed toward reproducing studies — and not just in psychology. In part, that’s to catch scientific fraud, but it’s also simply to make scientific findings more trustworthy. In January 2014, the National Institutes of Health announced it would create new initiatives to address these concerns, but there still aren’t widely established reproducibility guidelines. The study being published today speaks to why a bigger focus on reproducibility is necessary.


Prediction: Nothing much will happen. Why reproduce psychology studies if the results are useful to politicians as they stand? Cf flyover country is racist, etc.

On the other hand, for real news, if that matters to you, see Retraction Watch.

See also: If peer review is working, why all the retractions?

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2 Replies to “In Science’s 2015 top stories: Non-reproducibility

  1. 1
    Dionisio says:


    Please, forgive my ignorance, but does psychology qualify as science?

  2. 2
    paul sussman says:

    But is non reproducibility really a problem with modern science? It seems to me that this is standard operating procedures.

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