Failing to replicate predicts citation declines in psychology

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2023 Jul 18;120(29):e2304862120. doi: 10.1073/pnas.2304862120. Epub 2023 Jul 10.


With a sample of 228 psychology papers that failed to replicate, we tested whether the trajectory of citation patterns changes following the publication of a failure to replicate. Across models, we found consistent evidence that failing to replicate predicted lower future citations and that the size of this reduction increased over time. In a 14-y postpublication period, we estimated that the publication of a failed replication was associated with an average citation decline of 14% for original papers. These findings suggest that the publication of failed replications may contribute to a self-correcting science by decreasing scholars' reliance on unreplicable original findings.

Keywords: citations; failed replication; metascience; psychology; scientific impact.