Perspectives on Behavior Science

, Volume 42, Issue 1, pp 13–31 | Cite as

Improving Psychological Science through Transparency and Openness: An Overview

  • Andrew H. HalesEmail author
  • Eric D. Wesselmann
  • Joseph Hilgard


The ability to independently verify and replicate observations made by other researchers is a hallmark of science. In this article, we provide an overview of recent discussions concerning replicability and best practices in mainstream psychology with an emphasis on the practical benefists to both researchers and the field as a whole. We first review challenges individual researchers face in producing research that is both publishable and reliable. We then suggest methods for producing more accurate research claims, such as transparently disclosing how results were obtained and analyzed, preregistering analysis plans, and publicly posting original data and materials. We also discuss ongoing changes at the institutional level to incentivize stronger research. These include officially recognizing open science practices at the journal level, disconnecting the publication decision from the results of a study, training students to conduct replications, and publishing replications. We conclude that these open science practices afford exciting low-cost opportunities to improve the quality of psychological science.


Replication Reproducibility Preregistration Meta-analysis 



We thank Thomas Critchfield for valuable comments on a draft of this article.


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Copyright information

© Association for Behavior Analysis International 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrew H. Hales
    • 1
    Email author
  • Eric D. Wesselmann
    • 2
  • Joseph Hilgard
    • 2
  1. 1.Frank Batten School of Public Policy and LeadershipUniversity of VirginiaCharlottesvilleUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyIllinois State UniversityNormalUSA

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