Who Should Do Replication Labor?

Felipe Romero*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
203 Downloads (Pure)


Scientists, for the most part, want to get it right. However, the social structures that govern their work undermine that aim, and this leads to nonreplicable findings in many fields. Because the social structure of science is a decentralized system, it is difficult to intervene. In this article, I discuss how we might do so, focusing on self-corrective-labor schemes (i.e., ways of distributing replication efforts within the scientific community). First, I argue that we need to implement a scheme that makes replication work outcome independent, systematic, and sustainable. Second, I use these three criteria to evaluate extant proposals, which place the responsibility for replication on original researchers, consumers of their research, students, or many labs. Third, on the basis of a philosophical analysis of the reward system of science and the benefits of the division of cognitive labor, I propose a scheme that satisfies the criteria better: the professional scheme. This scheme has two main components. First, the scientific community is organized into two groups: discovery researchers, who produce new findings, and confirmation researchers, whose primary function is to do confirmation work (i.e., replication, reproduction, meta-analysis). Second, a distinct reward system is established for confirmation researchers so that their career advancement is separated from whether they obtain positive experimental results.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)516-537
Number of pages22
JournalAdvances in Methods and Practices in Psychological Science
Issue number4
Early online date24-Oct-2018
Publication statusPublished - 1-Dec-2018

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