In ways, the Table of Contents for the most recent issue of the Psi Chi Journal of Psychological Research looks like most issues. In this issue, you’ll find roughly half a dozen well-written articles about well-designed empirical research studies, spanning topics as diverse as the perception of individuals with autism, the stress-buffering effect of self-compassion, and having a positive sense of one’s identity as a disabled person. The range and quality of the articles reflects the high quality of psychological research that you have come to expect in the journal. At first glance, this is nothing new.
However, when you look more closely, you will see something historic for our journal: each article title is accompanied by an Open Science Badge. Last year, we announced that the journal has joined many other psychological research journals in an effort to restore high standards of transparency and openness in psychological research by awarding badges to journal articles that take necessary steps to:
preregister their studies,
make their research materials publicly available,
and/or make their research data publicly available.
Following the guidelines written by the Center for Open Science, any article published in the journal can be designated with an Open Science badge if its authors have taken appropriate steps. By no means are authors required to take these steps in order to have their research considered for publication; after all, as I noted in the introduction to this issue, there are special considerations that might make it problematic to earn certain badges for certain studies in certain situations. But all eight of the articles in this recent issue serve as exemplars of research studies that took the steps necessary to earn one or more of these badges.
However, when you look even more closely, you will see something historic, not just for our journal but for psychological research in general. The first article in this journal, “Self-Esteem, Self-Disclosure, Self-Expression, and Connection on Facebook,” has an additional badge, designating it as a Replication study. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first article in any psychological research journal to receive a badge to designate it as a Replication study. Although Psi Chi agrees with the Center for Open Science about the importance of celebrating research that follows best practices of Open Data, Open Materials, and Preregistration, we have taken it upon ourselves to go one step further by creating our own Replication badge, unique to our journal, in order to highlight the value of this important type of research (as explained by Dr. John Edlund). For this reason, Leighton, Legate, LePine, Anderson, and Grahe (2018), the first recipients of our Replication badge, are groundbreakers.
Although this article was the first to receive the Replication badge, we know that many more will follow. If researchers would like to seek this badge, it will require more advanced planning than any of the other badges. A “direct replication” conscientiously follows the exact same steps as a previously published study, exploring whether the published effect generalizes to different settings and different populations. A “direct-plus replication” follows the same procedure as a previously published study, but includes additional variables; this not only allows for exploration of the generalizability of the published effect but also extends the literature to include new concepts. Therefore, both types of replications require planning that begins at the very earliest stages of research design.
Sometimes, historic moments are obvious; other times, they may be harder to recognize. In the most recent issue of the Psi Chi Journal, Leighton and his colleagues blazed new trails. We hope than many other researchers follow their path, conducting conscientious replications of previously published research to publish in the Psi Chi Journal of Psychological Research.