The idea that papers are publishing false results might sound alarming but the recent crisis doesn’t mean that the entire scientific method is totally wrong. In fact, science’s focus on its own errors is a sign that researchers are on exactly the right path.
Ivan Oransky, producer of the blog Retraction Watch, which tracks retractions printed in journals, tells Quartz that ultimately, the alarm will lead to increased rigor.
There’s going to be some short-term and maybe mid-term pain as all of this shakes out, but that’s how you move forward,” he says. “It’s like therapy—if you never get angry in therapy, you’re probably not pushing hard enough. If you never find mistakes, or failures to reproduce in your field, you’re probably not asking the right questions.”
Yes, that’s what floored social psychology. The researchers were pretty happy with results that couldn’t be reproduced. After all, the results reflected what they and their backers wanted to believe.
For Nosek, who led the re-testing of 100 psychology papers, the current focus on reproducibility is simply part of the scientific process.
“Science isn’t about truth and falsity, it’s about reducing uncertainty,” he says. “Really this whole project is science on science: Researchers doing what science is supposed to do, which is be skeptical of our own process, procedure, methods, and look for ways to improve.” More.
See also: Speaking of skepticism, even even “skeptic” Michael Shermer gets it now.
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Hat tip: Pos-Darwinista