Reproducibility and Replicability in Science

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An ad hoc committee of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine explored the issues of reproducibility and replication in scientific and engineering research, focusing on defining reproducibility and replicability, and examining the extent of non-reproducibility and non-replicability.



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REPORT RELEASED

Reproducibility and Replicability in Science (2019)

One of the pathways by which the scientific community confirms the validity of a new scientific discovery is by repeating the research that produced it. When a scientific effort fails to independently confirm the computations or results of a previous study, some fear that it may be a symptom of a lack of rigor in science, while others argue that such an observed inconsistency can be an important precursor to new discovery.

Concerns about reproducibility and replicability have been expressed in both sci¬entific and popular media. As these concerns came to light, Congress requested that the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine conduct a study to assess the extent of issues related to reproducibility and replicability and to offer recommendations for improving rigor and transparency in scientific research.

The report offers definitions of reproducibility and replicability and examines the factors that may lead to non-reproducibility and non-replicability in research. While reproducibility is straightforward and should generally be expected, replicability is more nuanced, and in some cases a lack of replicability can aid the process of scientific discovery. The report provides recommendations to researchers, academic institutions, journals, and funders on steps they can take to improve reproducibility and replicability in science.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine will host a Reproducibility and Replicability in Science symposium at the historic National Academy of Sciences Building on September 24, 2019.
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PROJECT SCOPE 

The study scope included the following: 

  • Providing definitions of reproducibility and replicability; 
  • Examining the extent of non-reproducibility and non-replicability; 
  • Identifying actions to increase scientific rigor and transparency and maintain public trust in science. 




SPONSORS


NSF
Alfred P. Sloan Foundation