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Reproducible Research

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The evolution of technology

Dynamic Horizontal Cultural Transmission of Humpback Whale Song at the Ocean Basin Scale

Current Biology, 21 (2011) 687-691. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2011.03.019

The garden of forking paths: Why multiple comparisons can be a problem, even when there is no “fishing expedition” or “p-hacking” and the research hypothesis was posited ahead of time

Abstract Researcher degrees of freedom can lead to a multiple comparisons problem, even in settings where researchers perform only a single analysis on their data. The problem is there can be a large number of potential comparisons when the details of data analysis are

Diversification and cumulative evolution in New Caledonian crow tool manufacture

Why Most Published Research Findings Are False

Transmission fidelity is the key to the build-up of cumulative culture

How open science helps researchers succeed.

Open access, open data, open source and other open scholarship practices are growing in popularity and necessity. However, widespread adoption of these practices has not yet been achieved. One reason is that researchers are uncertain about how sharing their work will affect their careers. We review literature demonstrating that open research is associated with increases in citations, media attention, potential collaborators, job opportunities and funding opportunities. These findings are evidence that open research practices bring significant benefits to researchers relative to more traditional closed practices.

A manifesto for reproducible science

Nature Human Behaviour 1, (2017). doi:10.1038/s41562-016-0021

Estimating the reproducibility of psychological science

False-positive psychology: undisclosed flexibility in data collection and analysis allows presenting anything as significant.

In this article, we accomplish two things. First, we show that despite empirical psychologists' nominal endorsement of a low rate of false-positive findings (≤ .05), flexibility in data collection, analysis, and reporting dramatically increases actual false-positive rates. In many cases, a researcher is more likely to falsely find evidence that an effect exists than to correctly find evidence that it does not. We present computer simulations and a pair of actual experiments that demonstrate how unacceptably easy it is to accumulate (and report) statistically significant evidence for a false hypothesis. Second, we suggest a simple, low-cost, and straightforwardly effective disclosure-based solution to this problem. The solution involves six concrete requirements for authors and four guidelines for reviewers, all of which impose a minimal burden on the publication process.

Cultural Learning

Cultures in chimpanzees

As an increasing number of field studies of chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) have achieved long-term status across Africa, differences in the behavioural repertoires described have become apparent that suggest there is significant cultural variation. Here we present a systematic synthesis of this information from the seven most long-term studies, which together have accumulated 151 years of chimpanzee observation. This comprehensive analysis reveals patterns of variation that are far more extensive than have previously been documented for any animal species except humans. We find that 39 different behaviour patterns, including tool usage, grooming and courtship behaviours, are customary or habitual in some communities but are absent in others where ecological explanations have been discounted. Among mammalian and avian species, cultural variation has previously been identified only for single behaviour patterns, such as the local dialects of song-birds. The extensive, multiple variations now documented for chimpanzees are thus without parallel. Moreover, the combined repertoire of these behaviour patterns in each chimpanzee community is itself highly distinctive, a phenomenon characteristic of human cultures but previously unrecognised in non-human species.