In DepthReproducibility

Social science studies get a ‘generous’ test

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Science  31 Aug 2018:
Vol. 361, Issue 6405, pp. 836
DOI: 10.1126/science.361.6405.836

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The Social Sciences Replication Project, the latest in a string of efforts to test the repeatability of published research findings, has released the results of its attempt to replicate all 21 experimental social science papers published in Science and Nature between 2010 and 2015. Like its predecessors, the new effort found that a large fraction of published studies don't yield the same results when done a second time: Sixty-two percent of the studies replicated successfully. But this project strove to give the studies the benefit of the doubt by dramatically increasing the sample size and statistical power compared with the original studies, to allow for the possibility that their effect, though real, has been inflated. The new project also offers new evidence that experts are highly accurate in predicting the likely replicability of a study in advance—which suggests new approaches to rooting out problematic papers.