SCIENCE of
CLIMATE CHANGE

International Journal of Science and Philosophy

The Replication Crisis

Author

  • Peter Ridd

At the Oslo conference in 2019, Australian Peter Ridd gave the concluding speech on The replication crisis, a phenomenon widely accepted in major institutions of science. Roughly half of peer reviewed scientific literature is probably flawed or totally wrong. There are almost certainly problems in all fields of science. How did this problem develop? The inadequacies of the peer review system are largely to blame. The peer review process is a grossly deficient quality assurance process.

The replication crisis is a phenomenon widely accepted in major institutions of science (Ioannidis, 2005, 2014, Baker 2016). Roughly half of peer reviewed scientific literature is probably flawed or totally wrong. There are almost certainly problems in all fields of science. How did this problem develop? The inadequacies of the peer review system are largely to blame. The peer review process is a grossly deficient quality assurance process.

The peer review problem

Peer review as it works today:

  • Peer review is a quick check by maybe a couple of “peers”. It might take a just few hours.
  • Peers never have time to do thorough checks or genuine replication of work.
  • Peers might be the authors friends.
  • The public is completely unaware of how pathetic the peer review process is, or its failure rate.
  • Science institutions have deceived the public to think peer review is a far more robust and lengthy process than it actually is.
  • Peer review makes group-think inevitable.