July 11, 2014

A Statement from the Editorial Board of the Journal of Evidence-Based Haruspicy

Attention conservation notice: Leaden academic sarcasm about methodology.

The following statement was adopted unanimously by the editorial board of the journal, and reproduced here in full:

We wish to endorse, in its entirety and without reservation, the recent essay "On the Emptiness of Failed Replications" by Jason Mitchell. In Prof. Mitchell's field, scientists attempt to detect subtle patterns of association between faint environmental cues and measured behaviors, or to relate remote proxies for neural activity to differences in stimuli or psychological constructs. We are entirely persuaded by his arguments that the experimental procedures needed in these fields are so delicate and so tacit that failures to replicate published findings must indicate incompetence on the part of the replicators, rather than the original report being due to improper experimental technique or statistical fluctuations. While the specific obstacles to transmitting experimental procedures for social priming or functional magnetic resonance imaging are not the same as those for reading the future from the conformation and coloration of the liver of a sacrificed sheep, goat, or other bovid, we see no reason why Prof. Mitchell's arguments are not at least as applicable to the latter as to the former. Instructions to referees for JEBH will accordingly be modified to enjoin them to treat reports of failures to replicate published findings as "without scientific value", starting immediately. We hope by these means to ensure that the field of haruspicy, and perhaps even all of the mantic sciences, is spared the painful and unprofitable controversies over replication which have so distracted our colleagues in psychology.

Questions about this policy should be directed to the editors; I'm just the messenger here.

Manual trackback: Equitablog; Pete Warden

Learned Folly; Modest Proposals

Posted by crshalizi at July 11, 2014 15:50 | permanent link

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