Why Many Papers Cannot Be Reproduced

As soon as scientists write up their findings and results in scientific papers, they should endeavor to include their methodology in order to allow other scientists to replicate those results. It is also important for a study to be replicated much time over by an independent group of scientists before they can be confident that their findings are correct.

Erroneous findings are eliminated by the ability of those results to be reproduced or replicated. It also saves other scientists desiring to pursue researches in such line time and resources.

Is Irreproducibility of Result an Issue?

A survey conducted in 2016 asked a similar question, and about 52 percent of the respondents that participated in the survey replied ‘Yes.’ Another report says that about 70 percent of scientists have made efforts to reproduce the result of the papers published by their colleagues without success.

Another report released in 2015 disclosed that only a handful of about 36 percent of studies published in three different respected psychology journals could be reproduced. Only about 47 percent out of the reproduced results are said to be original. Also, only about 6 out of the 53 landmark studies relating to cancer could be reproduced.

Why Does This Occur?

There are several reasons why results or findings are often difficult to reproduce by another researcher:

pointing handRepeated Mistakes

The inability to reproduce many results from papers is often due to the reinforcement of mistakes. This happens because the present-day researchers rely on their research being cited by other scientists. It is natural for researchers to rely on themselves.

Researchers rely on themselves because on researcher’s work is usually an upgrade done by another researcher. That means a single error on the part of the former will spiral into several mistakes by other researchers referencing his work.

pointing handFailure to Understand a Genuine Basic Research

When one or several scientists fail to reproduce the results of the research, it doesn’t always translate to the research being false. It doesn’t mean also that mistakes were made during the research. A reasonable explanation may be that the others who tried to reproduce it do not understand the concept of the research.

If a researcher doesn’t understand some portion of the research, he is most likely to change and tweak some things which will ultimately yield a different result.

When basic research is concerned, there are some areas where you aren’t aware of which certain conditions influence the outcome of the research. In such situations, the result will not be the same as the one being reproduced.

pointing handTo Wrap It Up

The fact that some findings and results from certain researches cannot be reproduced doesn’t mean that the researcher(s) employed scientific methods that are disputable. The reproduction of research findings is hinged partly on the false notion that scientific experiments and works are well defined.

Another false claim is that standardized machines will, at every point in time, produce the same outcome from the same inputs. Therefore, it is necessary to test all possibilities before we term a research work that cannot be reproduced ‘bad or wrong.’

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By Bizhan Romani

Dr. Bizhan Romani has a PhD in medical virology. When it comes to writing an article about science and research, he is one of our best writers. He is also an expert in blogging about writing styles, proofreading methods, and literature.

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