Rethinking Reproducibility as a Criterion for Research Quality

TitleRethinking Reproducibility as a Criterion for Research Quality
Publication TypeBook Chapter
AuthorsLeonelli, Sabina
Book TitleResearch in the History of Economic Thought and Methodology
PublisherEmerald Publishing Limited
ISBN Number978-1-78756-423-7 978-1-78756-424-4
AbstractA heated debate surrounds the significance of reproducibility as an indicator for research quality and reliability, with many commentators linking a “crisis of reproducibility” to the rise of fraudulent, careless, and unreliable practices of knowledge production. Through the analysis of discourse and practices across research fields, I point out that reproducibility is not only interpreted in different ways, but also serves a variety of epistemic functions depending on the research at hand. Given such variation, I argue that the uncritical pursuit of reproducibility as an overarching epistemic value is misleading and potentially damaging to scientific advancement. Requirements for reproducibility, however they are interpreted, are one of many available means to secure reliable research outcomes. Furthermore, there are cases where the focus on enhancing reproducibility turns out not to foster high-quality research. Scientific communities and Open Science advocates should learn from inferential reasoning from irreproducible data, and promote incentives for all researchers to explicitly and publicly discuss (1) their methodological commitments, (2) the ways in which they learn from mistakes and problems in everyday practice, and (3) the strategies they use to choose which research components of any project need to be preserved in the long term, and how.