Stepping in the Same River Twice Replication in Biological Research Ayelet Shavit, Aaron M. Ellison, W. John Kress

Publication date:
06 Jun 2017
Yale University Press
344 pages: 235 x 156 x 24mm
38 b-w illus.
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An international team of biologists, philosophers, and historians of science explores the critically important process of replication in biological and biomedical research

Without replication, the trustworthiness of scientific research remains in doubt. Although replication is increasingly recognized as a central problem in many scientific disciplines, repeating the same scientific observations of experiments or reproducing the same set of analyses from existing data is remarkably difficult. In this important volume, an international team of biologists, philosophers, and historians of science addresses challenges and solutions for valid replication of research in medicine, ecology, natural history, agriculture, physiology, and computer science.
After the introduction to important concepts and historical background, the book offers paired chapters that provide theoretical overviews followed by detailed case studies. These studies range widely in topics, from infectious-diseases and environmental monitoring to museum collections, meta-analysis, bioinformatics, and more. The closing chapters explicate and quantify problems in the case studies, and the volume concludes with important recommendations for best practices.

Ayelet Shavit, a philosopher of science, is a senior lecturer and head of the philosophy program at Tel Hai College. She lives at Kibbutz K'far Giladi, Israel. Aaron M. Ellison is the senior research fellow in ecology, Harvard University, Harvard Forest. He lives in Royalston, MA.

“This book mulls and kneads the concept of replicability—moving us toward that point where such a concept is a smooth round pebble, comfortably fitting into our pocket. It is a model for treating the philosophically rich concepts used (and abused) in science."—Michael Paul Nelson, Ruth H. Spaniol Chair of Renewable Resources and Professor of Environmental Philosophy and Ethics, Oregon State University

“The central themes of this volume are replication, repeatability, and reproducibility, which individually and in concert form a cornerstone in all fields of science and all aspects of scientific enquiry. This volume has no antecedent.”—James L. Patton, University of California, Berkeley

"The book is a work of surprising breadth, incorporating philosophy and literature and a wide variety of scientific approaches. It provides insights about replication that would not emerge from any single discipline.”—John H. Porter, University of Virginia