The Journal of Irreproducible Results, a science-humor magazine, is, sadly, no longer the only publication that can lay claim to its title. More and more published scientific studies are difficult or impossible to repeat.
It’s not that the experiments themselves are so flawed they can’t be redone to the same effect -- though this happens more than scientists would like. It’s that the data upon which the work is based, as well as the methods employed, are too often not published, leaving the science hidden.
Many people assume that scientists the world over freely exchange not only the results of their experiments but also the detailed data, statistical tools and computer instructions they employed to arrive at those results. This is the kind of information that other scientists need in order to replicate the studies. The truth is, open exchange of such information is not common, making verification of published findings all but impossible and creating a credibility crisis in computational science.
Federal agencies that fund scientific research are in a position to help fix this problem. They should require that all scientists whose studies they finance share the files that generated their published findings, the raw data and the computer instructions that carried out their analysis.
The ability to reproduce experiments is important not only for the advancement of pure science but also to address many science-based issues in the public sphere, from climate change to biotechnology.
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Source Link: bloomberg.com