Sunday, September 15, 2013

"Replication" and "Reproducibility"

We might be inclined to use the terms "replicate" and "reproduce" interchangeably. However, in the context of scientific verification, a distinction has been drawn between them.

The 2 December 2011 issue of Science devoted a special section to "Data Replication and |Reproducibility". Among the contributors was Roger Peng, whom I follow on the Simply Statistics blog. In one of his posts, Roger defines the two terms under discussion:

"......I define “replication” as independent people going out and collecting new data and “reproducibility” as independent people analyzing the same data. Apparently, others have the reverse definitions for the two words. The confusion is unfortunate because one idea has a centuries long history whereas the importance of the other idea has only recently become relevant. I’m going to stick to my guns here but we’ll have to see how the language evolves."
And the discussion has continued.

Recently, Roger has produced a three-part post, titled "Trading a New Path for Reproducible Research": Part 1; Part 2; Part 3.

It's definitely worth a read if you're involved in data-based research.

© 2013, David E. Giles