Replicability, Robustness, and Reproducibility in Psychological Science

Nosek, Brian A., et al. “Replicability, Robustness, and Reproducibility in Psychological Science.” PsyArXiv, 9 Feb. 2021.

Replication, an important, uncommon, and misunderstood practice, is making a comeback in psychology. Achieving replicability is a necessary but not sufficient condition for making research progress. If findings are not replicable, then prediction and theory development are stifled. If findings are replicable, then interrogation of their meaning and validity can advance knowledge. Assessing replicability can be productive for generating and testing hypotheses by actively confronting current understanding to identify weaknesses and spur innovation. For psychology, the 2010s might be characterized as a decade of active confrontation. Systematic and multi-site replication projects assessed current understanding and observed surprising failures to replicate many published findings. Replication efforts also highlighted sociocultural challenges, such as disincentives to conduct replications, framing of replication as personal attack rather than healthy scientific practice, and headwinds for replication contributing to self-correction. Nevertheless, innovation in doing and understanding replication, and its cousins, reproducibility and robustness, have positioned psychology to improve research practices and accelerate progress.