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. 2014 Dec 4;9(12):e114255.
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0114255. eCollection 2014.

Excess Success for Psychology Articles in the Journal Science

Free PMC article

Excess Success for Psychology Articles in the Journal Science

Gregory Francis et al. PLoS One. .
Free PMC article


This article describes a systematic analysis of the relationship between empirical data and theoretical conclusions for a set of experimental psychology articles published in the journal Science between 2005-2012. When the success rate of a set of empirical studies is much higher than would be expected relative to the experiments' reported effects and sample sizes, it suggests that null findings have been suppressed, that the experiments or analyses were inappropriate, or that the theory does not properly follow from the data. The analyses herein indicate such excess success for 83% (15 out of 18) of the articles in Science that report four or more studies and contain sufficient information for the analysis. This result suggests a systematic pattern of excess success among psychology articles in the journal Science.

Conflict of interest statement

Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.


Figure 1
Figure 1. The circles mark the standardized effect size for the key findings in five experiments .
Each horizontal line indicates the range of a 95% confidence interval for the effect size. The diameter of a circle indicates the relative sample size of the experiment, with the largest sample size being 179.

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The authors have no funding or support to report.