Political science should not stop young researchers from replicating

In a blog post by Jesse Singal at the New York Magazine, one of the students who tried to replicate LaCour‘s findings on gay marriage said that young researchers are often actively discouraged from replicating work.
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replication and extension projects: making class more interesting and useful

politicalsciencereplication.wordpress.com:

A Princeton course instructor assigned replications to his students. Here’s his recap and advice to other teachers:

Originally posted on Wheels on the bus:

This semester I taught the second course in my department’s quantitative methods sequence that is required for all of our graduate students: Advanced Data Analysis for the Social Science. Sociology departments around the country all have a pretty similar required sequence. In teaching the course this time, I tried to modernize it so that it would train students for the future (not just the present or the past).

One big aspect of this modernization was requiring students to complete a project where they replicate and extend an already published paper. Overall, this change was a big success, and I’d recommend that other classes also try it. In this post, I’ll share some of what worked about the project and how I will do it better next time. I’ve also made all of the materials that we’ve used available on the class website.

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LaCour: Overview over the debate

When a study fails to replicate in political science, retractions are not very common. Often, the re-analysis that questions the original findings is published in the same or another journal; and then the original author sometimes writes a third article defending his/her findings (see here). Recently, a failed replication made it into the news, and suddenly there’s a ‘scandal.’ Here are the most important pieces you should read if you want to know the details.
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Journal editor: It is up to the author to release their data

I received this email from a journal editor in political science after I asked about their replication policy. My original email is below.
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Currently swamped – but I’m sending my data soon

Nicole,

I would be more than happy to share my data with you, but I am currently swamped and have not had time to clean up the dataset that you requested. Normally, this wouldn’t take much but was originally part of a larger dataset that I had created, and that dataset includes data from other authors which did not give me permission to share (Don’t worry – this data is nothing used in the article). It will likely be a few weeks before I can get to this. Will this be too late?

Out of curiously, what type of project are you working on that you would need the dataset? (…)

Best,
______________

I sent two follow-up emails. The author never replied again.

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Leading journal verifies articles before publication – so far, all replications failed

The American Journal of Political Science recently announced that every article will be externally verified before it is published. Authors have to provide all data, code and materials which will be verified by an external statistician. I talked to the editor William G. Jacoby about the goals of the new policy, and why no author has provided ‘perfect’ files yet.
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Open peer review: What are the benefits and pitfalls?

Should journals publish review reports alongside a paper? At the meeting “The future of scholarly scientific communication” at the Royal Society it seemed that there is a general agreement: yes – we need more transparency. However, opinions were divided if reviewers’ names should be published as well.

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