Towards Reproducibility: Adapting Past and Future Projects in Sleep and Memory to a Transparent and Sustainable Model of Science
In the biomedical and social sciences, published findings have recently been found to be far less robust than many scientists had thus far believed. A systematic attempt to replicate several key studies in psychology estimates that fewer than half of the effects reported in the literature are true effects. This reproducibility crisis has cast doubt on psychology as a science. Too much flexibility in the way data are handled and reported has been identified as one of the key causes of this low reproducibility. The open science movement attempts to induce new trust by making methods and data more openly available, which restricts such flexibility and makes it more traceable. At the Wissenschaftskolleg, I will pursue three goals to transform my research pipeline according to these principles. First, I will prepare all of the data that I have used in published manuscripts for their publication online. These data have been collected from adult participants after receiving their informed consent and include bio-physiological information (such as blood analyses and sleep EEG). At the time of collection, these participants did not consent to an online publication of their data, therefore, I will evaluate to which extent their anonymous data can be shared online by conferring with the appropriate ethics committees. Second, for my next study I will prepare a detailed record of the methods and submit it to a journal before any data is collected, also documenting any statistical analyses I will run. This registered reports format is being adopted by more and more research outlets and guarantees publication irrespective of the achieved results. Third, I will perform a meta-science survey to assess the prevalence of flexible methods and the adoption of open science principles in the fields of biological psychology and neuroscience. This will allow an informed discussion about the incentive structure that is needed to improve psychology as a science.
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