Publication Biases in Replication Studies

Adam J. Berinsky, James N. Druckman, Teppei Yamamoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


One of the strongest findings across the sciences is that publication bias occurs. Of particular note is a file drawer bias where statistically significant results are privileged over nonsignificant results. Recognition of this bias, along with increased calls for open science, has led to an emphasis on replication studies. Yet, few have explored publication bias and its consequences in replication studies. We offer a model of the publication process involving an initial study and a replication. We use the model to describe three types of publication biases: (1) file drawer bias, (2) a repeat study bias against the publication of replication studies, and (3) a gotcha bias where replication results that run contrary to a prior study are more likely to be published. We estimate the model's parameters with a vignette experiment conducted with political science professors teaching at Ph.D. granting institutions in the United States. We find evidence of all three types of bias, although those explicitly involving replication studies are notably smaller. This bodes well for the replication movement. That said, the aggregation of all of the biases increases the number of false positives in a literature. We conclude by discussing a path for future work on publication biases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)370-384
Number of pages15
JournalPolitical Analysis
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2021


  • conjoint experiment
  • file drawer bias
  • open science
  • publication bias
  • replication studies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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