A Unified Framework to Quantify the Credibility of Scientific Findings
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Description: Societies invest in scientific studies to better understand the world, and attempt to harness such improved understanding to address pressing societal problems. Published research, however, can only be useful for theory or application if it is credible. In science, a credible finding is one that has repeatedly survived risky falsification attempts. However, state-of-the-art meta-analytic approaches cannot determine the credibility of an effect because they do not account for the extent to which each included study has survived such attempted falsification. To overcome this problem, the following paper outlines a unified framework to estimate the credibility of published research by examining four fundamental falsifiability-related dimensions: (1) method/data transparency, (2) analytic reproducibility, (3) analytic robustness, and (4) effect replicability. A standardized workflow is proposed to quantify the degree to which a finding has survived scrutiny along these four credibility facets. The framework is demonstrated by applying it to published replications in the psychology literature. Details about a web platform implementation of the framework are outlined, and we conclude by encouraging the community of researchers to contribute to the development and crowdsourcing of the platform.