Vazire, S., & Holcombe, A. O.
(2020, August 13).
It is often said that science is self-correcting, but the replication crisis suggests that, at least in some fields, self-correction mechanisms have fallen short of what we might hope for. How can we know whether a particular scientific field has effective self-correction mechanisms, that is, whether its findings are credible? The usual processes that supposedly provide mechanisms for scientific self-correction – mainly peer review and disciplinary committees – have been inadequate. We argue for more verifiable indicators of a field’s commitment to self-correction. These include transparency, which is already a target of many reform efforts, and critical appraisal, which has received less attention. Only by obtaining Measurements of Observable Self-Correction (MOSCs) can we begin to evaluate the claim that “science is self-correcting.” We expect the validity of this claim to vary across fields and subfields, and suggest that some fields, such as psychology and biomedicine, fall far short of an appropriate level of transparency and, especially, critical appraisal. Fields without robust, verifiable mechanisms for transparency and critical appraisal cannot reasonably be said to be self-correcting, and thus do not warrant the credibility often imputed to science as a whole.