What irreproducible results mean for the law of scientific evidence

AuthorJason M. Chin
g Summer 2016
ha irreucible esus mean 
he la  cieniic eience
In 2015, Brian Nosek and several collaborators reported the results of
perhaps the most important scientic study of the year– it was a study
they performed by copying the work of others. That is not as contradictory
as it sounds, or at least it should not be.
While the conventional wisdom is that most scientic ndings have
been vetted and reproduced many times before they reach scientic con-
sensus, the reality is that such rigour is exceedingly rare. Nosek sought
to remedy this situation, wrangling up a group of 270 other researchers
(collectively the Open Science Collaboration, or OSC) and attempting to
redo 100 psychology experiments already published in leading peer-re-
viewed journals.1 The question: Would these re-creations nd the same
results as the initial studies?
Prior to the OSC’s endeavour, the conventional wisdom was that, yes,
published science contains some false positives, but they are a small
minority and quickly identied through a robust self-correction process.
The OSC’s results suggest that this conventional wisdom is wrong
only 36 percent of the studies in the sample were reproducible. This
nding surprised even the alarmists, who long suggested the number
was closer to 50 percent.2 The OSC’s results also garnered widespread
1 Open Science Collaboration, “Estimating the Reproducibility of Psychological Sci-
ence” (2015) 349 Science 943.
2 John PA Ioannidis, “Why Most Published Findings Are False” 2:8 PLoS Med e124.

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT