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Psychology | The Behavior Analyst

The Behavior Analyst

The Behavior Analyst

An Official Journal of the Association for Behavior Analysis International

Editor-in-Chief: Donald Hantula

ISSN: 0738-6729 (print version)
ISSN: 2196-8918 (electronic version)

Journal no. 40614

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Replication and Reproducibility: Concepts, Controversies, Crises and Solutions

A special section of The Behavior Analyst. 

Replication has always occupied a central position in the methodology of behavioral research (e.g., Sidman, 1960). Seminal experimental designs demanded replication of effects both within and between subjects. As behavior analysis moved from the lab to the field, within-subject replications received somewhat less emphasis, as evidenced by multiple-baseline designs. The advent of the evidence-based practice movement has created new interest in both between-individual replications (e.g., as demonstrated in randomized controlled trials) and replication of effects across studies (as demonstrated in meta-analyses).
With seminal treatises on behavioral methods now several decades old, it may be time to re-examine the field's reliance on and conceptions of replication. Motivation for doing so is magnified by the recent replication and reproducibility "crisis" in many scientific fields including economics (Chang & Lee, 2015), medicine (Ioannidis, 2005) and psychology (Open Science Collaboration, 2015) in which researchers have reported difficulty replicating many well-known findings.
The Behavior Analyst announces a Fall 2017 special section on Replication and Reproducibility: Concepts, Controversies, Crises and Solutions. We invite the submission of manuscripts dealing with any aspect of replication, including but not limited to:
• Literature reviews exploring the prevalence, effectiveness, or significance of various approaches to replication within single-subject research and/or within-subject designs; replication issues related to small-n designs in general and other fields (e.g., neuroscience, Button et al 2013).
• The role of various statistical tools (including effect size and meta-analysis) in exploring the replicability of effects.
• Advances in data sharing, data warehousing, online supplements and other ways to increase transparency of data and facilitate re-analyses and promote reproducibility.
• Discussions about the importance (or not) of publishing null findings and discussions of failures to replicate and lessons that can be learned from them.
• Discussions of the implications of the evidence-based practice movement in scholarship and public policy for how between-individual replication is addressed within behavioral research
• Discussions about behavior analysis and its reliance on replication and its place in the greater field of psychology because of this reliance.
• Solutions to the replication and reproducibility crisis.
In addition, we invite "Failure to Replicate" case studies that describe an investigator's systematic attempt to replicate previously-reported findings in behavioral research. "Systematic" implies attempts involving multiple experiments; single experiments typically would be insufficient basis for this kind of case report. These articles should not take the form of primary empirical reports but should include enough methodological detail, and data, to make it more of a “research story;” it should also be concrete and accessible. The author is expected to discuss possible reasons for replication failure and to speculate about their implications for behavioral research in the topic area. Anyone can conduct a bad study and find null results; we are interested in well-run studies that did not reproduce expected results.
To receive consideration, papers must be submitted no later than October 15, 2017 via the journal's online system at https://www.editorialmanager.com/tbha/default.aspx
and should be flagged as for the special section on Replication and Reproducibility: Concepts, Controversies, Crises and Solutions by using the Article Type pull-down menu in the journal's online portal.
Papers should be approximately 20 manuscript pages (excluding tables, figures and references) and conform in all ways to the requirements for submissions to The Behavior Analyst as described in the online system. It is recommended that papers be professionally proofread prior to submission.

References 

Button et al (2013). Power failure: why small sample size undermines the reliability of neuroscience. Nature Reviews Neuroscience 14, 365-376
Chang, Andrew C., and Phillip Li (2015). Is Economics Research Replicable? Sixty Published Papers from Thirteen Journals Say ‘Usually Not’ Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2015-083. Washington: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, http://dx.doi.org/10.17016/FEDS.2015.083
Etz, A., & Vandekerckhove, J. (2016). A Bayesian perspective on the reproducibility project: Psychology. Plos ONE, 11(2): e0149794. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0149794.
Ioannidis JPA (2005) Why Most Published Research Findings Are False. PLoS Med 2(8): e124. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0020124
Open Science Collaboration. (2015). Estimating the reproducibility of psychological science. Science, 349(6251), aac4716.
Sidman, M. (1960). Tactics of scientific research. NY: Basic Books.

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    The Behavior Analyst is an official publication of the Association for Behavior Analysis International. It is published twice annually, and in addition to its articles on theoretical, experimental, and applied topics in behavior analysis, this journal also includes literarture reviews, re-interpretations of published data, and articles on behaviorism as a philosophy.
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