Ten-year impact award for seminal paper that questioned psychology research practices

A 2011 paper co-authored by Professor Leif Nelson, which helped trigger a movement that toppled famous psychology studies and fueled reforms to increase research transparency in the social sciences, has been recognized with a 10-Year Impact Award from academic publisher Sage Publishing.

The paper, False-Positive Psychology: Undisclosed Flexibility in Data Collection and Analysis Allows Presenting Anything as Significant,” was published in Psychological Science and co-authored by Joseph P. Simmons and Uri Simonson. 

The paper questioned several common research practices that the authors dubbed “P-hacking”—a reference to P-value, a calculation which researchers use to determine the statistical significance of a study’s findings. These practices were leading researchers to selective reporting of the results, in the pressure to publish, the authors contended. 

The paper led researchers to revisit the findings of many prior studies, many of which could not be replicated. 

The award from SAGE Publishing recognizes authors of the most cited papers in Sage Journals from 2011. “False Positive Psychology” has been cited more than 7,500 times by other academic researchers. Read more on the award