University of Toronto Magazine University of Toronto Magazine

What Will Solve the Replication Crisis?

U of T scholars and others are calling for four major changes to how research is conducted

Sharing Data
More researchers are making their data, calculations and reasoning public, which makes it easier for other scientists to find weaknesses (and understand strengths). Public data also advances science, allowing other scientists to run fresh analyses and seek new insights. U of T’s Structural Genomics Consortium has gained global recognition for its open-data policies.

Preregistering Experiments
The Center for Open Science in Charlottesville, Virginia, and other organizations encourage researchers to document their experiments before they begin. “U of T is out in front on this,” says U of T psychology prof Elizabeth Page-Gould. “The Center for Open Science released data on which universities have the most preregistrations, and we’re number two in the world.”

Addressing Institutional Bias Toward Positive Results
Academic journals still want highly cited papers, which tend to feature positive results. University employment, research funding, and tenure also tend to favour positive results over negative. Vivek Goel, U of T’s vice-president, research and innovation, says many important cultural changes happen at the departmental level through hiring decisions and mentoring styles. “That researchers and departments are showing leadership to ensure there is as much rigour and reproducibility as possible is really important.”

Funding More Replication Studies
Perhaps unsurprisingly, there’s little funding available for researchers seeking to confirm existing discoveries. But Brian Nosek, co-founder of the Center for Open Science, says testing replicability wouldn’t actually cost that much. “We can be selective in what we test for replications,” Nosek says. “Only a very small subset of research has a major impact that changes the direction of a field.”

Recent Posts

Photo of front campus field and Convocation Hall with flower emoji illustrations floating above

Clearing the Air

U of T wants to drastically cut carbon emissions by 2050. It’s enlisting on-campus ingenuity for help

Abstract illustration showing a red-coloured body and face, with small black and white pieces flowing from inside body out of the mouth, and the U.S. Capitol Building dangling on puppet strings from one hand

The Extremism Machine

Online disinformation poses a danger to society. Researchers at U of T’s Citizen Lab are tracking it – and trying to figure out how to stop it

Prof. Mark V. Campbell with a beige background and red lighting

Charting Hip Hop’s Course

Professor Mark V. Campbell grew up during the early years of rap music. Now, he is helping preserve Canadian hip-hop culture for future generations

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *