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Replicability or reproducibility? On the replication crisis in computational neuroscience and sharing only relevant detail

Miłkowski, Marcin and Hensel, Witold M. and Hohol, Mateusz (2018) Replicability or reproducibility? On the replication crisis in computational neuroscience and sharing only relevant detail. Journal of Computational Neuroscience, 45 (3). pp. 163-172. ISSN 0929-5313

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Abstract

Replicability and reproducibility of computational models has been somewhat understudied by “the replication movement.” In this paper, we draw on methodological studies into the replicability of psychological experiments and on the mechanistic account of explanation to analyze the functions of model replications and model reproductions in computational neuroscience. We contend that model replicability, or independent researchers' ability to obtain the same output using original code and data, and model reproducibility, or independent researchers' ability to recreate a model without original code, serve different functions and fail for different reasons. This means that measures designed to improve model replicability may not enhance (and, in some cases, may actually damage) model reproducibility. We claim that although both are undesirable, low model reproducibility poses more of a threat to long-term scientific progress than low model replicability. In our opinion, low model reproducibility stems mostly from authors' omitting to provide crucial information in scientific papers and we stress that sharing all computer code and data is not a solution. Reports of computational studies should remain selective and include all and only relevant bits of code.


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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Miłkowski, Marcinmmilkows@ifispan.waw.pl0000-0001-7646-5742
Hensel, Witold M.0000-0003-1786-3622
Hohol, Mateusz0000-0003-0422-5488
Keywords: replication, reproduction, modeling
Subjects: General Issues > Models and Idealization
Specific Sciences > Neuroscience
General Issues > Science vs. Pseudoscience
Depositing User: Dr. Marcin Miłkowski
Date Deposited: 08 Jan 2019 03:05
Last Modified: 08 Jan 2019 03:05
Item ID: 15555
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Computational Neuroscience
Official URL: http://doi.org/10.1007/s10827-018-0702-z
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.1007/s10827-018-0702-z
Subjects: General Issues > Models and Idealization
Specific Sciences > Neuroscience
General Issues > Science vs. Pseudoscience
Date: December 2018
Page Range: pp. 163-172
Volume: 45
Number: 3
ISSN: 0929-5313
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/15555

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