Scientific progress requires studies to be conducted rigorously, so that when they are repeated their results will be reasonably similar. Over the past few years, however, several systematic series of replication studies have been unable to reproduce many important results, even when applying lenient definitions of reproducibility.
This newly released report by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) analyses the causes of non-reproducibility, assesses the desirability of replication studies and offers recommendations for improving reproducibility and for conducting replication
studies. Institutions should put a greater emphasis on training in research design and statistical analysis, the report says, and teach scientists how to conduct replication studies. Journals should require authors to register reports in advance so that the study protocol and analysis plan is locked in place before data collection even begins, and scientists should be encouraged to store methods and data in repositories to help other groups reproduce experiments.