December 11, 2020
One of the pathways by which the scientific community confirms the validity of a new scientific discovery is by repeating the research that produced it. When a scientific effort fails to independently confirm the computations or results of a previous study, some fear that it may be a symptom of a lack of rigor in science, while others argue that such an observed inconsistency can be an important precursor to new discovery.
Concerns about reproducibility and replicability have been expressed in both scientific and popular media. As these concerns came to light, Congress requested that the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine conduct a study to assess the extent of issues related to reproducibility and replicability and to offer recommendations for improving rigor and transparency in scientific research.
Reproducibility and Replicability in Science defines reproducibility and replicability and examines the factors that may lead to non-reproducibility and non-replicability in research. Unlike the typical expectation of reproducibility between two computations, expectations about replicability are more nuanced, and in some cases a lack of replicability can aid the process of scientific discovery. This report provides recommendations to researchers, academic institutions, journals, and funders on steps they can take to improve reproducibility and replicability in science.
David B. Allison, Ph.D. is Dean, Distinguished Professor, and Provost Professor at the Indiana University Bloomington School of Public Health. Prior, he was Distinguished Professor, Quetelet Endowed Professor, and Director of the NIH-funded Nutrition Obesity Research Center (NORC) at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He has authored over 600 scientific publications and received many awards, including the 2018 Harry V. Roberts Statistical Advocate of the Year Award from the American Statistical Association, the 2002 Lilly Scientific Achievement Award from The Obesity Society (TOS), the 2002 Andre Mayer Award from the International Association for the Study of Obesity (IASO), and the National Science Foundation Administered 2006 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM). In 2009, he was awarded the Centrum Award from the American Society of Nutrition (ASN) and the TOPS research achievement award from The Obesity Society. In 2012 he was elected to the National Academy of Medicine of the United States National Academies.