Estimating the prevalance of transparency and reproducibility-related research practices in psychology (2014-2017)


Psychological science is navigating an unprecedented period of introspection about the credibility and utility of its research. A number of reform initiatives aimed at increasing adoption of transparency and reproducibility-related research practices appear to have been effective in specific contexts; however, their broader, collective impact amidst a wider discussion about research credibility and reproducibility is largely unknown. In the present study, we estimated the prevalence of several transparency and reproducibility-related indicators in the psychology literature published between 2014-2017 by manually assessing these indicators in a random sample of 250 articles. Over half of the articles we examined were publicly available (154237, 65% [95% confidence interval, 59% to 71%]). However, sharing of important research resources such as materials (26183, 14% [10% to 19%]), study protocols (0/188, 0% [0% to 1%]), raw data (4188, 2% [1% to 4%]), and analysis scripts (1188, 1% [0% to 1%]) was rare. Pre-registration was also uncommon (5188, 3% [1% to 5%]). Although many articles included a funding disclosure statement (142228, 62% [56% to 69%]), conflict of interest disclosure statements were less common (88228, 39% [32% to 45%]). Replication studies were rare (10188, 5% [3% to 8%]) and few studies were included in systematic reviews (21183, 11% [8% to 16%]) or meta-analyses (12183, 7% [4% to 10%]). Overall, the findings suggest that transparent and reproducibility-related research practices are far from routine in psychological science. Future studies can use the present findings as a baseline to assess progress towards increasing the credibility and utility of psychology research.