Center for Open Science (COS)
Co-Authors: Nate Honeycutt, Lee Jussim
Abstract: Better Understanding the Psychologists Who Use Questionable Research Practices
The use of questionable research practices (QRPs) has garnered considerable attention since the beginning of the current “replication crisis” due to their role in increasing the number of false-positive findings in the literature. Previous studies have varied in their estimated prevalence of the use of these behaviors – some estimating high use (greater than 60%1) and others estimating low use (close to 10%2). These estimates have also not focused on recent usage of QRPs, but on usage throughout careers. Using three different estimators, we estimate the current size of the QRP-using subpopulation of American psychologists to be 18%-24% (1,291-1,733 individuals). Further, these individuals are stigmatized: other psychologists have negative attitudes towards QRP users, and QRP users behave in ways consistent with concealing a stigmatized identity. Together, these findings increase our understanding of the scientists who use QRPs and can help generate best-practice interventions.