The nature magazine has just published a special issue about data replication and reproducibility.
In their introduction the authors are claiming that replication is considered the scientific gold standard. To give a broader view about replication, the journal explores some of the issues associated with the replication of results in different scientific disciplines as for example primate cognition and behaviour research, computer sciences, biology and climate change studies.
Worth reading is the Editorial by J. Crocker and L. Cooper that is dealing with the fraud of Diederik Stapel and raises the question “what could be done to protect science and the public from fraud in the future?”. The answer of the authors, both psychologists, is:
“Greater transparency with data, including depositing data in repositories where they can be accessed by other scientists […], might have sped up detection of this fraud, and it would certainly make researchers more careful about the analyses that they publish.”
Over and above Crocker and Cooper demand more general changes – for their respective scientific field as well as for science in general:
“The zeitgeist around replication must also change, because replication is the cornerstone of a cumulative science. Thus, the field of social psychology needs to develop policies that facilitate and encourage systematic replication. And in all of the sciences, discussing issues related to data replication should become part of student training, along with developing better systems for reporting suspected misconduct or fraud.”
For concluding I want to mention a poll by nature magazine – the authors wanted to know:
“Ideally, scientists would fully disclose their own raw data and methods and also spend time replicating others’ work. What would best ensure this good behavior?”
…interesting answers may be found in the comments section. And of course it would be beneficial to start the same discussion here on edawax.de 🙂
Picture: Gerd Altmann / pixelio.de