On the back of one more disreputable scientific conduct case (Stapel, Smeesters, and now Sanna; see
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=psychology-receives-challenge-to-clean-up-its-act), guest editors Brian Nosek and Daniel Lakens have called for interest in undertaking faithful replications of important findings (regardless of the findings).
Call for Proposals
Special Issue of Social Psychology
Replications of Important Results in Social Psychology
Brian A. Nosek and Daniël Lakens
A signature strength of science is that the evidence is reproducible. However, direct replications rarely appear in psychology journals because standard incentives emphasize novelty over verification (for background see Nosek, Spies, & Motyl, 2012, Perspectives on Psychological Science).
This special issue, Replications of Important Results in Social Psychology, alters those incentives. We invite proposals for highly-powered, direct replications of important results in social psychology. The review process will focus on the soundness of the design and analysis, not whether the outcome is positive or negative.
What are important results?
Importance is subjective but demonstrable. Proposals must justify the replication value of the finding to be replicated. To merit publication in this issue, the original result should be important (e.g., highly cited, a topic of intense scholarly or public interest, a challenge to established theories), but also should have uncertain truth value (e.g., few confirmations, imprecise estimates of effect sizes). The prestige of the original publishing journal is not sufficient to justify replication value.
What replication formats are encouraged?
Proposals should be for direct replications that faithfully reproduce the original procedure, materials, and analysis for verification. Conceptual replications that attempt to improve theoretical understanding by changing the operationalization of the constructs will not be considered for this issue. Articles in the issue can take several forms:
(1) Registered replication. Authors submit the introduction, methods, and analysis plan for a replication study or studies. These proposals will be reviewed for their importance and soundness. Once provisionally accepted, if authors complete the study as proposed, the results will be published without regard to the outcome. Registered replication proposals also could include:
(a) collaborations between two or more laboratories independently attempting to replicate an effect with the same materials,
(b) joint replication by the original laboratory and another laboratory, or
(c) adversarial collaborations in which laboratories with competing expectations prepare a joint registered proposal and conduct independent replications.
Only adequately powered tests of results with high replication value will be considered.
(2) Aggregation of existing replication attempts. Authors submit a proposal to aggregate existing replication attempts from the proverbial file-drawer. Even if individual replication attempts are underpowered, aggregated results can increase the precision of estimates of an effect. Ideal proposals would aggregate replication attempts from multiple laboratories. They can also explore the impact of procedural variations, replicator expertise, or other factors on replication success.
(3) Other approaches. Authors are encouraged to propose novel replication strategies or methods to improve the precision of estimates of important effects in social psychology.
How do I propose a replication project?
Interested authors should contact the guest editors before preparing a formal proposal (Brian Nosek, firstname.lastname@example.org; Daniel Lakëns, D.Lakens@tue.nl). These pre-proposal discussions will occur in late 2012 and early 2013, with the special issue scheduled for publication in 2014.
Deadlines for the formal proposal and final manuscript depend on the type of project. Registered replication proposals should be submitted by February 28, 2013 to leave time for initial review, revision, provisional acceptance, data collection, manuscript preparation, final review, and acceptance of the final report. Aggregation proposals or other manuscripts without new data collection should be submitted by March 30, 2013 to leave time to aggregate existing evidence and for the full manuscript to undergo peer review during the fall of 2013.
For more information: