Politische Vierteljahresschrift

, Volume 60, Issue 1, pp 1–19 | Cite as

Why Too Many Political Science Findings Cannot Be Trusted and What We Can Do About It: A Review of Meta-Scientific Research and a Call for Academic Reform

  • Alexander WuttkeEmail author


Witnessing the ongoing “credibility revolutions” in other disciplines, political science should also engage in meta-scientific introspection. Theoretically, this commentary describes why scientists in academia’s current incentive system work against their self-interest if they prioritize research credibility. Empirically, a comprehensive review of meta-scientific research with a focus on quantitative political science demonstrates that threats to the credibility of political science findings are systematic and real. Yet, the review also shows the discipline’s recent progress toward more credible research. The commentary proposes specific institutional changes to better align individual researcher rationality with the collective good of verifiable, robust, and valid scientific results.


Open Science Publication bias Replication crisis Replicability Transparency 

Forschung als soziales Dilemma: Eine meta-wissenschaftliche Bestandsaufnahme zur Glaubwürdigkeit politikwissenschaftlicher Befunde und ein Appell zur Veränderung akademischer Anreizstrukturen


Angesichts der „Glaubwürdigkeitsrevolutionen“ in anderen Sozialwissenschaften liegen Fragen nach der Verlässlichkeit institutioneller Wissensproduktion auch in der Politikwissenschaft nahe. Dieser Kommentar beschreibt, warum Wissenschaftler entgegen ihrem Eigeninteresse handeln, wenn sie Forschungsvalidität priorisieren. Ein umfassender Überblick der meta-wissenschaftlichen Literatur mit Fokus auf der quantitativen Politikwissenschaft weist einerseits auf jüngst eingeleitete Reformen zur Sicherung reliabler Forschung hin. Andererseits offenbart der vorliegende Überblicksartikel systematische Probleme in der Glaubwürdigkeit veröffentlichter Forschungsbefunde. Dieser Kommentar schlägt konkrete Maßnahmen vor, individuelle Forscheranreize in Einklang zu bringen mit dem gemeinschaftlichen Ziel verlässlicher Forschung.


Offene Wissenschaft Publikationsbias Replikationskrise Reproduzierbarkeit Transparenz 


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Copyright information

© Deutsche Vereinigung für Politikwissenschaft 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Universität MannheimMannheimGermany

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