NWO makes 3 million available for Replication Studies pilot

19 July 2016

NWO is making 3 million euros available for a Replication Studies pilot programme. In this programme, scientists will be able to repeat research that has been carried out by others. The pilot focuses on replicating studies that have a large impact on science, government policy or the public debate. This is the first special funding programme in the world for the repetition of such ‘cornerstone research’. With this initiative NWO wants to facilitate innovation in science and encourage researchers to carry out replication research.

Based on the results from this pilot, NWO intends to include replication research in an effective manner in all of its research programmes. The funding of replication and reproduction research is new within the range of NWO instruments. Reactions to this initiative in the research field and among partners from the Netherlands and abroad have been positive: replication research occupies a high position on international scientific agendas and also in the NWO strategy 2015-2018. This pilot covers the area of the social sciences and health research and healthcare innovation.

Replication studies aimed at reproduction and replication

The pilot programme Replication Studies focuses on two types of research: reproduction (replication with existing data: the datasets from the original study are reanalysed) and replication (with new data: a data collection is put together, which is subjected to the same research protocol as in the original study). By encouraging the realisation of replication research NWO intends to make a contribution to increasing the transparency of research and the quality and completeness of the reporting of results.

The pilot is not aimed at tracing falsified research results and data sets, or other forms of reprehensible research practices and misconduct.

Cornerstone research

Researchers can submit proposals to repeat so-called Cornerstone research. Cornerstone research is defined as studies that are cited often, with far-reaching consequences for subsequent research, or which play a major role in shaping policy, or studies on the basis of which important policy decisions are taken.

It also concerns research that is heavily referred to in student textbooks and research that has received a lot of media attention and has therefore had a considerable impact on the public debate. Studies with far-reaching consequences for legislation are also included. In this context testing the reproducibility of the research results concerned is particularly important.

Call for proposals will open in September

NWO will open the call for proposals in September. The expected deadline for submitting proposals is mid-December. The 3 million euros in funding will be split equally over three annual rounds. The programme will be managed by NWO Social Sciences and ZonMw (Medical Sciences).

ZonMw recently launched the programme Fostering Responsible Research Practices (Dutch acronym: BVO). The BVO programme and the pilot Replication Studies are closely related. The BVO programme intends to provide objectifiable and implementable knowledge about 'what works' in science, for example within the peer review system, the use of bibliometrics and the value of Open Access. The pilot Replication Studies focuses on making replication research a more mainstream part of scientific practice.

About NWO

The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research is one of the biggest science-funding bodies in the Netherlands and ensures quality and innovation in science. Each year NWO invests about 700 million euros in more than 6000 research projects at universities and knowledge institutions. These concern research driven by scientific curiosity as well as research into societal issues. Based on the advice of independent researchers from the Netherlands and abroad NWO selects the best research proposals. NWO encourages national and international collaboration, manages and funds eight national research institutes, invests in large-scale research facilities, and promotes the use of research results.

Source: NWO