Journal Says, If We Publish the Article, We’ll Publish the Replication

[From the blog “Accountable replications at Royal Society Open Science: A model for scientific publishing” by Sanjay Srivastava, published at the blogsite, The Hardest Science]
“I was excited to read this morning that the journal Royal Society Open Science has announced a new replication policy … In the new policy, RSOS is committing to publishing any technically sound replication of any study it has published, regardless of the result, and providing a clear workflow for how it will handle such studies.”
“What makes the RSOS policy stand out? Accountability means tying your hands – you do not get to dodge it when it will sting or make you look bad. Under the RSOS policy, editors will still judge the technical faithfulness of replication studies. But they cannot avoid publishing replications on the basis of perceived importance or other subjective factors.”
“Rather, whatever determination the journal originally made about those subjective questions at the time of the initial publication is applied to the replication. Making this a firm commitment, and having it spelled out in a transparent written policy, means that the scientific community knows where the journal stands and can easily see if the journal is sticking to its commitment. Making it a written policy (not just a practice) also means it is more likely to survive past the tenure of the current editors.”
“Other journals should now follow suit. Just as readers would trust a news source more if they are transparent about corrections — and less if they leave it to other media to fix their mistakes — readers should have more trust in journals that view replications of things they’ve published as their responsibility, rather than leaving them to other (often implicitly “lesser”) journals. Adopting the RSOS policy, or one like it, will be way for journals to raise the credibility of the work that they publish while they make scientific publishing more rigorous and transparent.”
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