In its third century, psychological science will come of age but a mature discipline carries with it responsibilities, chief among them the responsibility to maximize confidence in findings through good data practices and replication.
In the recent issue of Perspectives on Psychological Science (free to read), writers reflect on the discipline's ongoing commitment to examine methodological issues that affect all areas of science — such as failures to replicate previous findings and problems of bias and error — with the goal of strengthening the discipline and contributing to the discussion that is taking place throughout science.
The issue features two areas: Special Section on Replicability in Psychological Science: A Crisis of Confidence? and Special Section on Research Practices.
The section on replicability has articles that examine the extent, causes, and solutions to some of the challenges faced by psychology with regard to replication of research. The first nine articles in the section focus on diagnosing the problems within psychology while the next six discuss potential solutions. They don't provide definitive answers, something that will be needed to transform psychology into psychological science, but set out to promote discussion and collective action to strengthen the field.
"We hope that the articles in this special section will not only be stimulating and pleasurable to read, but that they will also promote much wider discussion and, ultimately, collective actions that we can take to make our science more reliable and more reputable," write the section editors Harold Pashler of the University of California, San Diego and Eric-Jan Wagenmakers of the University of Amsterdam in The Netherlands.
The section on research methods features articles that examine various aspects of research methodology, including the problem of false negatives and different approaches to detecting fraud. The section also includes a report on the goals, structure, and state of the Reproducibility Project from the Open Science Collaboration and a humorous take on questionable research practices in psychological science.
Because these topics are so important and so central to the enterprise, the publisher is making the entire issue available to non-subscribers free for three months.
Perspectives on Psychological Science November 2012; 7 (6)
Replication: How Psychology Can Become Science
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