The world of social science got a rude awakening a few years ago, when researchers concluded that many studies in this area appeared to be deeply flawed. Two-thirds could not be replicated in other labs.
Some of those same researchers now report those problems still frequently crop up, even in the most prestigious scientific journals.
But their study, published Monday in Nature Human Behaviour, also finds that social scientists can actually sniff out the dubious results with remarkable skill.
First, the findings. Brian Nosek, a psychology researcher at the University of Virginia and the executive director of the Center for Open Science, decided to focus on social science studies published in the most prominent journals, Science and Nature.
“Some people have hypothesized that, because they’re the most prominent outlets they’d have the highest rigor,” Nosek says. “Others have hypothesized that the most prestigious outlets are also the ones that are most likely to select for very ‘sexy’ findings, and so may be actually less reproducible.”
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