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Paving the Road for Replications: Experimental Results from an Online Research Bibliography



Are users of a bibliographic database interested in learning about replications? Can they be induced to learn? To answer these questions, we performed an experiment at the online research bibliography, RePEc (Research Papers in Economics). RePEc is the main research bibliography for pre-prints and published papers in economics. Using randomized stratification, we allocated 324 replications and their corresponding original studies to clusters. We then drew from those clusters to construct treatment and control groups. Brightly colored tabs were added to the relevant webpages to alert visitors to the existence of a replication study. We then monitored traffic over three phases lasting several months: a) no treatment, b) treatment on one group, c) treatment on both groups. Our estimates indicate that this intervention generated an average click-through-rate (CTR) of 1.6%, resulting in a 13% increase in the visits to replication webpages, though only the former estimate was statistically significant.

Suggested Citation

  • Tom Coupé & W. Robert Reed & Christian Zimmermann, 2021. "Paving the Road for Replications: Experimental Results from an Online Research Bibliography," Working Papers 2021-013, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, revised 24 Feb 2022.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlwp:93317
    DOI: 10.20955/wp.2021.013

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Maren Duvendack & Richard Palmer-Jones & W. Robert Reed, 2017. "What Is Meant by "Replication" and Why Does It Encounter Resistance in Economics?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(5), pages 46-51, May.
    2. Maren Duvendack & Richard W. Palmer-Jones & W. Robert Reed, 2015. "Replications in Economics: A Progress Report," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 12(2), pages 164–191-1, May.
    3. Susan Athey & Guido Imbens, 2016. "The Econometrics of Randomized Experiments," Papers 1607.00698,
    4. C. Glenn Begley & Lee M. Ellis, 2012. "Raise standards for preclinical cancer research," Nature, Nature, vol. 483(7391), pages 531-533, March.
    5. Camerer, Colin & Dreber, Anna & Forsell, Eskil & Ho, Teck-Hua & Huber, Jurgen & Johannesson, Magnus & Kirchler, Michael & Almenberg, Johan & Altmejd, Adam & Chan, Taizan & Heikensten, Emma & Holzmeist, 2016. "Evaluating replicability of laboratory experiments in Economics," MPRA Paper 75461, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Judit Bar-Ilan & Gali Halevi, 2018. "Temporal characteristics of retracted articles," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 116(3), pages 1771-1783, September.
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    More about this item


    replications; RePEc; Experiment; Online Research Bibliography; Webpages; Click-throughs;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • A11 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Role of Economics; Role of Economists
    • B41 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Economic Methodology
    • Z0 - Other Special Topics - - General

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