Replication in the Experimental Life Sciences

Project leader: Stephan Guettinger

Claims about a replication crisis in the experimental sciences have recently led to serious soul-searching amongst scientists, funders and other stakeholders. This led to calls for fundamental changes to the way research is being conducted and funded.

The aim of this project is to re-assess the very foundations on which these wide-ranging policy debates are based. The driving force behind this re-assessment is the worry that currently used concepts of "replication" are not able to capture the phenomenon adequately, thereby leading to a flawed assessment of the status quo. The key goal of this project is to develop an updated conceptual framework that can provide a solid foundation for the debate about revisions to the way science is being done and funded.

The initial focus of the project will be on the experimental life sciences. In this context the project will draw on insights from philosophy of experimentation in order to expand our notion of what replication means in disciplines such as cell biology and biochemistry. Later stages of the project will also look at psychological research and biomedicine more generally.


  • Guttinger S. "A new account of replication in the experimental life sciences." Philosophy of Science (forthcoming 2019)
  • ​Guttinger S. "Replications everywhere." BioEssays, 40:1800055.doi:10.1002/bies.201800055 (2018)

Presentations (invited talks)

  • “A new account of replication in the experimental life sciences”. Workshop ‘Scientific method – testing, experimenting, controlling results’, June 29, 2018. University Bielefeld.