My First Post-Revolution Action Letter

I’m a little embarrassed to admit it – but the first post-revolution action letter I’ve seen is one I got as an author, not one that I sent as an action editor.

What do I mean by a post-revolution action letter?  I mean one that incorporates some of the scientific values that we have been vigorously discussing in psychology over the past year.  (E.g., in the Perspectives November special issue.)  In particular, I mean the values of not creating post-hoc hypothesis, replicating surprising results, publishing interesting studies (and replications) regardless of how they turn out.

I was the fourth author on an empirical paper with one experiment that included a priming manipulation and some messy results that did NOT confirm our initial hypothesis but did suggest something else interesting.  What did the action letter (and reviewers) say?

1) After noting that the research was interesting, the reviewers called for some type of replication of the surprising results – and were not put off by the fact that we did not confirm our original hypothesis.

2) The Action Editor wrote two lovely things. First, he said he preferred a direct replication.  He said:  “I like the fact that you propose a hypothesis and fail to find support for it (rather than invent post hoc a hypothesis that is supported). However, I also think this surprising finding (in view of your own expectation) calls for a direct replication. The combination of the two experiments would be very compelling.”

3) And second: “The direct replication would be confirmatory in nature and its outcome would not determine eventual acceptance of the paper. Performing the replication attempt and reporting it in the manuscript is sufficient.

So, hats off to Rolf Zwaan and the anonymous reviewers.

This entry was posted in Perspectives on Writing, Research Revolution and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to My First Post-Revolution Action Letter

  1. bnosek says:

    Hooray, science wins!

  2. Having blogged about replication so much,, I felt I should practice what I preach, not just as an author but also as an editor.

  3. asehelene says:

    Reblogged this on Åse Fixes Science and commented:
    Go here and read. There’s an impact! Science seem to be changing!

  4. Eric Charles says:

    I hope its a trend…. At any rate, this report alone should make everyone who would like to write honest reports consider Rolf’s journal. Once there are options, people can vote with their feet (submissions, willingness to review, credence given to reports).

  5. Bridgette says:

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