Many Labs 5: Testing pre-data collection peer review as an intervention to increase replicability

Charles E Ebersole, Maya B. Mathur, Erica Baranski, Martin Corley, Hugh Rabagliati, Josiah King, Jia Loy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Replication efforts in psychological science sometimes fail to replicate prior findings. If replications use methods that are unfaithful to the original study or ineffective in eliciting the phenomenon of interest, then a failure to replicate may be a failure of the replication protocol rather than a challenge to the original finding. Formal pre-data collection peer review by experts may address shortcomings and increase replicability rates. We selected 10 replications from the Reproducibility Project: Psychology (RP:P; Open Science Collaboration, 2015) in which the original authors had expressed concerns about the replication designs before data collection and only one of which was “statistically significant” (p < .05). Commenters on RP:P suggested that lack of adherence to expert review and low-powered tests were the reasons that most of these failed to replicate (Gilbert et al., 2016). We revised the replication protocols and received formal peer review prior to conducting new replications. We administered the RP:P and Revised replication protocols in multiple laboratories (Median number of laboratories per original study = XX; Range XX to YY; Median total sample = XX; Range XX to YY) for high-powered tests of each original finding with both protocols. Overall, XX of 10 RP:P protocols and XX of 10 Revised protocols showed significant evidence in the same direction as the original finding (p < .05), compared to an expected XX. The median effect size was [larger/smaller/similar] for Revised protocols (ES = .XX) compared to RP:P protocols (ES = .XX), and [larger/smaller/similar] compared to the original studies (ES = .XX) and [larger/smaller/similar] compared to the original RP:P replications (ES = .XX). Overall, Revised protocols produced [much larger/somewhat larger/similar] effect sizes compared to RP:P protocols (ES = .XX). We also elicited peer beliefs about the replications through prediction markets and surveys of a group of researchers in psychology. The peer researchers predicted that the Revised protocols would [decrease/not affect/increase] the replication rate, [consistent with/not consistent with] the observed replication results. The results suggest that the lack of replicability of these findings observed in RP:P was [partly/completely/not] due to discrepancies in the RP:P protocols that could be resolved with expert peer review.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAdvances in Methods and Practices in Psychological Science
Early online date13 Nov 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 13 Nov 2020


  • metascience
  • replication
  • reproducibility
  • peer review
  • registered reports


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