Replication, Communication, and the Population Dynamics of Scientific Discovery

Data Science Lecture Series


April 3, 2015
1:00pm to 2:30pm
190 Doe Library
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Many published research results are false, and controversy continues over the roles of replication and publication policy in improving the reliability of research. I will present a mathematical model of scientific discovery in the context of replication, publication bias, and variation in research quality. This model provides a formal framework for reasoning about the normative structure of science. It is only a start, but it speaks directly to ongoing debates about the design and conduct of science.


Paul Smaldino

Postdoctoral Scholar, Department of Anthropology, UC Davis

Paul E. Smaldino is a postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Anthropology at UC Davis. His research focuses on using mathematical and computational modeling to understand questions related to social behavior, cultural evolution, and individual decision making, and he is also working on improving his statistical chops. Paul received a BA in physics from Wesleyan University in 2002. Following that, he spent several years as an unscrupulous derelict in New York City and held a panoply of jobs that included working as an immunology lab technician, an audio engineer, a movie production assistant, a film transfer technician, a lead guitarist, a high school math tutor, a textbook copyeditor, and a psychiatric nurse’s aid. In 2007, he picked up an MA in Psychology from the New School for Social Research and spent a year as a research associate in cognitive neuroscience at New York University. In 2011, he received a PhD in Psychobiology from the UC Davis, with a dissertation on the influence of mobility and spatial organization in computational models of social interaction. From 2011 to 2014, he was a postdoctoral research fellow at Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Advanced Modeling in the Social, Behavioral, and Health Sciences. He is a Gemini.