Reporting all results efficiently: A RARE proposal to open up the file drawer
Laitin, David, Edward Miguel, Ala’ Alrababa’h, Aleksandar Bogdanoski, Sean Grant, Katherine Hoeberling, Cecilia Hyunjung Mo, Don A Moore, Simine Vazire, Jeremy Weinstein, Scott Williamson. (2021) “Reporting all results efficiently: A RARE proposal to open up the file drawer”, PNAS, 118(52):e2106178118. doi: 10.1073/pnas.2106178118.
While the social sciences have made impressive progress in adopting transparent research practices that facilitate verification, replication, and reuse of materials, the problem of publication bias persists. Bias on the part of peer reviewers and journal editors, as well as the use of outdated research practices by authors, continues to skew literature toward statistically significant effects, many of which may be false positives. To mitigate this bias, we propose a framework to enable authors to report all results efficiently (RARE), with an initial focus on experimental and other prospective empirical social science research that utilizes public study registries. This framework depicts an integrated system that leverages the capacities of existing infrastructure in the form of public registries, institutional review boards, journals, and granting agencies, as well as investigators themselves, to efficiently incentivize full reporting and thereby, improve confidence in social science findings. In addition to increasing access to the results of scientific endeavors, a well-coordinated research ecosystem can prevent scholars from wasting time investigating the same questions in ways that have not worked in the past and reduce wasted funds on the part of granting agencies.