Replication of results

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Replication of results is the ability of an experiment to be reproduced and provide the same results - this is essential to scientific progress and to convincing scientists of a new discovery. If an experiment is repeated and the results are different, a dispute can cast doubt on the original results.

Basically, the way scientific discoveries are made is with an article saying "I performed experiment X and got result Y. You can do the same experiment and check your results. Here's how I did experiment X." Other people being able to sucessfully repeat the experiment is what "replication of results" is all about.

Sometimes mistakes (and sometimes outright frauds) can come from supposedly-reputable institutions and appear in supposedly-reputable journals. Scientific empirical results become firmer when other workers replicate the experiment. Theoretical results become firmer when people repeat the calculation, and/or check for consistency with other theoretical and empirical results. [1]

If a scientist makes a claim, and writes it up in the proper format for publication, it may pass peer review, but this does not make it valid. It might get some media play, but it's not going to be added to textbooks on the high school or university level unless other scientists are convinced.

  • ... peer-review is by no means proof against bad science or incorrect findings. It is more of an extended editorial process. The real test of published science comes later, when the broader community attempts to replicate results. [2]

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