Dear Association for Research in Personality
Regarding your article entitled “Personality Psychology Has a Serious Problem (And so Do Many Other Areas of Psychology)”,
We agree wholeheartedly with your diagnosis of a major problem in publication practices in psychology. As you explain, any solution has to include a reduction in the systematic bias against publishing non-replications that now exists. Such a bias seems to be present in the editorial practices of all of the major psychology journals. In addition, discussions with colleagues lead us to believe that investigators themselves tend to lose interest in a phenomenon when they fail to replicate a result, partly because they know that publishing negative findings is likely to be difficult and writing the manuscript time-consuming. Given these biases, it seems inevitable that our literature and even our textbooks are filling with fascinating “findings” that lack validity.
To help address this problem, together with colleagues we have created a new website that allows psychology researchers to post brief notices of replication attempts (whether successful or unsuccessful). In designing the website, PsychFileDrawer.org, we put a premium on making the submission process quick and easy, in recognition of the fact that the incentives for posting are modest. The site has entered beta testing, and we hope readers of P will post studies from their file drawers and provide us with feedback regarding the site.
Alex O. Holcombe, School of Psychology, University of Sydney
Hal Pashler, Department of Psychology, University of California San Diego