Replication studies

The Academy intends to issue an advisory report on replication studies. The reason for the report is growing concern about the reproducibility of scientific research and the call for replication studies – research in which independent researchers repeat an original study. An Academy committee will consider the extent to which replication studies are desirable and what can be done to ensure that such studies are used correctly.

Aim

Both the scientific community and society in general consider the reproducibility of scientific research a significant point of concern. Several disciplines – including the medical sciences and psychology – have moved beyond discussing the nature and scale of the problem and are now addressing underlying causes and proposing solutions. Conducting replication studies could be part of the solution – they could test the reproducibility of research outcomes and improve their reliability. The incentives for conducting such studies are limited, however.

Tasks

The committee’s tasks are as follows:

  • To survey the desirability of replication studies in the medical sciences, psychology and biochemistry/biophysics. 
  • To identify opportunities for promoting replication studies.
  • To propose action that the Academy can take and make recommendations to relevant parties based on the foregoing points.
  • To draft an advisory report in Dutch.

The report will focus on the medical sciences, and by way of comparison a number of related areas of research, because of its size, its direct impact on human lives, and society’s interest in medical progress. 

Term

The committee will submit its advisory report (after review) to the Academy Board before the summer of 2017.