News FocusPsychology Research

Psychology's Bold Initiative

Science  30 Mar 2012:
Vol. 335, Issue 6076, pp. 1558-1561
DOI: 10.1126/science.335.6076.1558

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Summary

Some psychology researchers argue that a scientific culture that too heavily favors new and counterintuitive ideas over the confirmation of existing results has led to too many findings that are striking for their novelty and published in respected journals—but are nonetheless false. A new online site (PsychFileDrawer.org) lets psychologists post results of replications of experiments—whether they succeed or fail—that would ordinarily never leave their file drawer because most journals decline to publish straightforward replication studies. And a group of more than 50 academic psychologists, which calls itself the Open Science Collaboration, has begun an unprecedented, large-scale project to systematically replicate psychological experiments recently published in leading journals. Some researchers are optimistic that many published findings will be replicated. But others are concerned that if the project confirms few studies, it could unfairly indict psychology. Indeed, the prospect of exposing psychology's foibles has upset some scientists.

  • * Siri Carpenter, a freelance writer based in Madison, Wisconsin, worked 12 years ago in a lab with Brian Nosek, the organizer of the Open Science Collaboration.