Changing research culture toward more use of replication research: a narrative review of barriers and strategies

J Clin Epidemiol. 2021 Jan;129:21-30. doi: 10.1016/j.jclinepi.2020.09.027. Epub 2020 Sep 29.


Objective: The aim of this paper is to review the literature on barriers to conducting replication research and strategies to increase its use and promotion by researchers, editors, and funders.

Study design and setting: This review was part of a larger meta-narrative review aimed at conducting a concept analysis of replication and developing a replication research framework. A combination of systematic and snowball search strategies was used to identify relevant literature in multiple research fields. Data were coded and analyzed using the Theoretical Domains Framework for barriers to replication and the behavior change wheel for solutions.

Results: In total, 153 papers were included in this narrative review. Multiple barriers limit the use of replication research by researchers, editors, and funders. Many of the barriers were related to knowledge and skills of all these actors. Social influences and the research environmental context were also described as not supportive. Multiple strategies were proposed to create positive outcomes expectations, reinforcement, and structural changes in the physical and social context of research.

Conclusion: A social change involving advisory groups, research organizations, and institutions is required to establish new norms that will value, promote, support, and reward replication research.

Keywords: Barriers; Narrative review; Quantitative research; Replication; Reproducibility; Research methods.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Communication Barriers
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic*
  • Humans
  • Research Design* / standards
  • Research Design* / trends
  • Research Personnel
  • Systems Analysis