[From the blog post, “HARPing: Hedging After a Replication is Proposed” by Rich Lucas at The Desk Reject]
“Now, we are all sensitized to the fact that you’re not supposed to “HARK”—it is problematic to hypothesize after results are known (Kerr 1998). Once we know how things have turned out, it is easy to come up with a post hoc explanation as to why it happened that way. … a closely related problem [is] … the tendency to HARP, or to Hedge After a Replication is Proposed. Once a study has been selected for replication, original authors often suddenly develop skepticism about the importance or quality of the particular study that has been chosen for replication.”
“Why does this matter? … specific study features that were plenty good enough to get these studies published the first time around suddenly become problematic when incorporated into a replication study. For example, my colleagues and I had a replication study rejected from the same journal in which the original study had been published after the original author reviewed our paper and criticized a critical design feature that was included in the original study! On other another occasion, we had a lengthy e-mail discussion with an author about how to replicate one of his previous studies. Although he was more than willing to tell us the specific ways our replication attempt could go wrong, he was never willing to say how we could get it right. In short, he was hedging so strongly about the original study that one could never challenge the original result. This is one of the reasons why I don’t think we should insist that replicators work with original authors when designing replication studies.”
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