I heard this reported on NPR yesterday (sheepishly, and more in sorrow than in anger) but I didn't really believe it until I read it in the paper:
The “reproducibility crisis” in science is erupting again. A research project attempted to replicate 21 social science experiments published between 2010 and 2015 in the prestigious journals Science and Nature. Only 13 replication attempts succeeded. The other eight were duds, with no observed effects consistent with the original findings.
The failures do not necessarily mean the original results were erroneous, as the authors of this latest replication effort note. There could have been gremlins of some type in the second try. But the authors also noted that even in the replications that succeeded, the observed effect was on average only about 75 percent as large as the first time around.
The researchers conclude that there is a systematic bias in published findings, “partly due to false positives and partly due to the overestimated effect sizes of true positives.” This latest project provides a reminder that the publication of a finding in a peer-reviewed journal does not make it true.
OK, I lied -- I totally believed it, mostly because if it was on NPR you knew the findings were so bad for the "social science" Left that they simply had to acknowledge them, even as they tried to explain them away...
Scientists are under attack from ideologues, special interests and conspiracy theorists who reject the evidence-based consensus in such areas as evolution, climate change, the safety of vaccines and cancer treatment. The replication crisis is different; it is largely an in-house problem with experimental design and statistical analysis.
If you have to modify the word "science" with an adjective, it probably isn't science. I've long thought that "social science," like psychiatry (aka Viennese Voodoo), is mostly twaddle, a product of a specific place and time, and nothing about these revelations surprises me. Some examples:
One of the studies that didn’t replicate attempted to study whether self-reported religiosity would change among test subjects who had first been asked to look at an image of the famous Auguste Rodin sculpture “The Thinker.” The study found that people became less religious after exposure to that image.
Another experiment, conducted in Boston in 2008 and published in Science in 2010, divided passersby into “heavy” and “light” groups and gave them either a heavy clipboard or a light clipboard containing the résumé of a job applicant. The original experiment found that people holding the heavier clipboard were more likely to rate applicants as suitable for the job. The replication found no such effect.
It's all one big racket, folks.