Perspective: What is replication? (PLOS Biol)

This is an interesting paper and certainly one to share with students. Nosek and Errington argue that how we usually think of as “replication”, repeating a study and observing the same results, is incorrect. Instead, they argue for abroader definition of replication, as something that supports the findings, irrespective of the methods used. The authors argue that successful replication indicates that the findings are generalizable, whereas unsuccessful efforts indicate that the original finding might be constrained. To put it another way, ”outcomes consistent with a prior claim would increase confidence in the claim, and outcomes inconsistent with a prior claim would decrease confidence in the claim.” The authors suggest that redefining replication should remove some of the stigma that makes authors reluctant to pursue it, journals reluctant to publish it, and funders reluctant to fund it. This is a thought-provoking paper, and also includes a fascinating anecdote of summer versus winter frogs – have a look! (Summary by Mary Williams) PLOS Biol.  10.1371/journal.pbio.3000691