It’s Not A Problem, It’s an Opportunity

[From the blog “The replication crisis is good for science” by Eric Loken, published at The Conversation]
“Science is in the midst of a crisis: A surprising fraction of published studies fail to replicate when the procedures are repeated.”
“Is this bad for science? It’s certainly uncomfortable for many scientists whose work gets undercut, and the rate of failures may currently be unacceptably high. But, as a psychologist and a statistician, I believe confronting the replication crisis is good for science as a whole.”
“Awareness about the replication crisis appears to be promoting better behavior among scientists. Today, the stakes have been raised for researchers. They know that there’s the possibility that their study might be reviewed by thousands of opinionated commenters on the internet or by a high-profile group like the Reproducibility Project.”
“While there are signs that scientists are indeed reforming their ways, there is still a long way to go. Out of the 1,500 accepted presentations at the annual meeting for the Society for Behavioral Medicine in March, only 1 in 4 of the authors reported using these open science techniques in the work they presented.”
“Finally, the replication crisis is helping improve scientists’ intuitions about statistical inference.”
“Researchers now better understand how weak designs with high uncertainty – in combination with choosing to publish only when results are statistically significant – produce exaggerated results.”
“The breathtaking possibility that a large fraction of published research findings might just be serendipitous is exactly why people speak of the replication crisis. But it’s not really a scientific crisis, because the awareness is bringing improvements in research practice, new understandings about statistical inference and an appreciation that isolated findings must be interpreted as part of a larger pattern.”
To read more, click here.

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