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, 115 (11), 2628-2631

Opinion: Is Science Really Facing a Reproducibility Crisis, and Do We Need It To?


Opinion: Is Science Really Facing a Reproducibility Crisis, and Do We Need It To?

Daniele Fanelli. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A.


Efforts to improve the reproducibility and integrity of science are typically justified by a narrative of crisis, according to which most published results are unreliable due to growing problems with research and publication practices. This article provides an overview of recent evidence suggesting that this narrative is mistaken, and argues that a narrative of epochal changes and empowerment of scientists would be more accurate, inspiring, and compelling.

Keywords: bias; crisis; integrity; misconduct; reproducible research.

Conflict of interest statement

The author declares no conflict of interest.


Fig. 1.
Fig. 1.
Number of Web of Science records that in the title, abstract, or keywords contain one of the following phrases: “reproducibility crisis,” “scientific crisis,” “science in crisis,” “crisis in science,” “replication crisis,” “replicability crisis.” Records were classified by the author according to whether, based on title and abstracts, they implicitly or explicitly endorsed the crisis narrative described in the text (red), or alternatively questioned the existence of such a crisis (blue), or discussed “scientific crises” of other kinds or could not be classified due to insufficient information (gray). The complete dataset, which includes all titles and abstracts and dates back to the year 1933, is available in Dataset S1. This sample is merely illustrative, and does not include the numerous recent research articles and opinion articles that discuss the “science is in crisis” narrative without including any of the above sentences in the title, abstract, or keywords.

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