Reproducing Scientific Research

It’s long been an issue in scientific circles, but one that few have had the opportunity to truly investigate. Science is supposed to proceed through peer review and through studies that successfully reproduce published results. However, publishers are typically reluctant to print articles that do not support the results of already published articles. Without the publication of these opposing articles, scientists are often unaware that the original work was found to be incorrect, and perform their own tests (or, worse, they don’t check it first), reproducing the same non-result that was rejected by the publisher the first time.

The Public Library of Science was originally founded to help researchers publish those papers that falsify established publications. And today, they’ve announced a new initiative, in coordination with Science Exchange and figShare, that will provide that service exclusively for this purpose. Called “The Reproducibility Initiative”, researchers are invited to submit their articles prior to publication, and pay to have their results tested by independent researchers at other laboratories around the world. For each publication, they get a seal of approval, and a second publication that verifies the result.

See Carl Zimmer’s take at Slate magazine and Keith R Laws’ recent post at ResearchBlogs Negativland: what to do about negative findings

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