Welcome to My PoPS

I’ve been getting a LOT of submissions to Perspectives on Psychological Science (PoPS) lately from people wanting me to publish their comments on the comments on the comments… .  Seriously?

We should be having discussions in real time, or at least e-time, not waiting for 15th century print technology to make our points.  And if I published every comment on the comments…, there would be no place for the actual science.  So, let’s all get over only counting ideas that have been set in type — even though most of us don’t read them that way any more.

Instead, let’s see your perspective… here.

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3 Responses to Welcome to My PoPS

  1. Eric Charles says:

    Well… at least I knew better than to send a comment to Perspectives ;- )

    I don’t want to post the whole thing here, but basically:
    I don’t think psychology has a replicability crisis, I think it has a “judging what is important” crisis. The idea that a result is crucial to the field entails that people will want to replicate. With the exception of almost-impossible-to-replicate studies (e.g., a 40-year longitudinal study of people born in the same New Zealand town, with a 95% retention rate), nothing should get into the top journals unless reviewers are confident other labs will replicate. That would fix many other problems in our field as well.

  2. bobbiepops says:

    Eric — I think that is, in part, right. People will indeed want to replicate important and interesting research. In fact, they often do so. Here’s a common story. Your grad student says she just heard about a new cool finding and she has ideas about interesting extensions. You talk about it and tell her — yes, well, replicate the initial finding and add your other conditions. And… the initial findings don’t replicate. And a year later, she’s run five studies, and they still don’t replicate and she/you can’t get them published. That makes the problem not replication, and not importance, but communication, no?

  3. Eric Charles says:

    The publication is definitely a problem, but I I think the replication happens less often than you want to think. Maybe I am living in a total fantasy land, but my bet is that 50-80% of papers in the #1 chemistry journal in the country get replicated pretty quickly. I also suspect that something like 10-15% of papers in Psych Science get replicated pretty quickly. Glancing through this month’s issue, I don’t see more than 3 that I would expect to be replicated in the near future. Many will get “conceptual replications”, but that is different.

    There are areas of psychology where replications are much more common. In vision science and some parts of cog-psych (particularly rote memory tasks) I have seen quite a bit of replication as you describe. In other areas, I have seen less, or none at all. I think it would be a tremendous improvement to the field if the standard publication format in all top journals became ‘replicate-and-extend’.

    As a natural pessimist, I am open to the suggestion that I am wrong about this. Is your experience that different from mine?

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