Less Than Half of Major Social-Science Studies Are Reproducible, Analysis Says

A study has found that fewer than half of 100 major studies in the social sciences could be replicated to produce similar results, The New York Times reports. Published in Science, the analysis was conducted by a team of researchers led by Brian Nosek, a psychologist at the University of Virginia.

The team sought to reproduce 100 studies published in 2008, but in more than 60 cases, the results came out different. That’s not a result of fraud, the researchers say, but an indication that the evidence supporting the studies’ conclusions was not as strong as originally stated.

“We see this is a call to action, both to the research community to do more replication and to funders and journals to address the dysfunctional incentives,” Mr. Nosek told the Times.

Several high-profile fabrications — including one widely reported finding about the ease with which people’s minds can change on the issue of gay marriage — have rocked the social sciences in recent years.

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