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Reproducibility and Replicability in Science

Review Explores Reproducibility and Replicability in Science

Special 12-article feature continues the discussion on the fact that many experiments and results are difficult or impossible to reproduce

by The MIT Press
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CAMBRIDGE, MA — December 16, 2020 — In 2019, the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) published a consensus report for the US Congress—Reproducibility and Replicability in Science—which addressed a major methodological crisis in the sciences: The fact that many experiments and results are difficult or impossible to reproduce. The conversation about this report and this vital topic continues in a special, 12-article feature in issue 2:4 of the Harvard Data Science Review (HDSR), published Dec. 16.

Growing awareness of the replication crisis has rocked the fields of medicine and psychology, in particular, where famous experiments and influential findings have been cast into doubt. But these issues affect researchers in a wide range of disciplines—from economics to particle physics to climate science—and addressing them requires an interdisciplinary approach.

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"The overall aim of reproducibility and replicability is to ensure that our research findings are reliable," states HDSR editor-in-chief Xiao-li Meng in his editorial. "Reliability does not imply absolute truth—which is an epistemologically debatable notion to start with—but it does require that our findings are reasonably robust to the relevant data or methods we employ."

"Designing sound replication studies requires a host of data science skills, from statistical designs to causal inference to signal-noise separation, that are simultaneously tailored by and aimed at substantive understanding," Meng continues.

Guest edited by Victoria Stodden (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign), the special theme collection presents research and commentary from an interdisciplinary group of scholars and professionals. Articles include:

The editors hope to take advantage of the collaborative features available on the open-source publishing platform, PubPub, where HDSR is hosted. Readers around the world can freely read, annotate, and comment on the essays—continuing this important conversation.

- This press release was supplied by The MIT Press. It has been edited for style