Research ArticleSCIENTIFIC COMMUNITY

Nonreplicable publications are cited more than replicable ones

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Science Advances  21 May 2021:
Vol. 7, no. 21, eabd1705
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abd1705

Abstract

We use publicly available data to show that published papers in top psychology, economics, and general interest journals that fail to replicate are cited more than those that replicate. This difference in citation does not change after the publication of the failure to replicate. Only 12% of postreplication citations of nonreplicable findings acknowledge the replication failure. Existing evidence also shows that experts predict well which papers will be replicated. Given this prediction, why are nonreplicable papers accepted for publication in the first place? A possible answer is that the review team faces a trade-off. When the results are more “interesting,” they apply lower standards regarding their reproducibility.

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