Finding Wealth in Waste: Irreplicability Re-Examined

Bart Penders*, A. Cecile J. W. Janssens

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialAcademicpeer-review


Irreplicability is framed as crisis, blamed on sloppy science motivated by perverse stimuli in research. Structural changes to the organization of science, targeting sloppy science (e.g., open data, pre-registration), are proposed to prevent irreplicability. While there is an unquestionable link between sloppy science and failures to replicate/reproduce scientific studies, they are currently conflated. This position can be understood as a result of the erosion of the role of theory in science. The history, sociology, and philosophy of science reveal alternative explanations for irreplicability to show it is part of proper, informative and valuable science. Irreplicability need not equate research waste. Sloppy science is the problem, also when results do replicate. Hence, the solution should focus on opposing sloppy research.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1800173
Number of pages4
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018


  • irreplicability
  • organization of science
  • replication crisis
  • responsible research
  • sloppy science
  • theory

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