Fight fire with psychology
In response, psychologists are trying to flip the incentives by using their knowledge of transparency, accountability and personal gain.
For instance, right now there's no incentive for researchers to share their data, and a 2006 study found that of 141 researchers who had previously agreed to share their data, only 38 did so when asked.
But Nosek and his colleagues hope to encourage such sharing by making it standard practice. They are developing a project called the Open Science Framework, and one goal is to encourage researchers to publicly post their data and to have journals require such transparency in their published studies. That should make researchers less likely to tweak their data.
"We know that behavior changes as a function of accountability, and the best way to increase accountability is to create transparency," Nosek said.
One journal, Social Psychology, is dangling the lure of guaranteed publication to motivate replication studies. Researchers send proposals for replication studies to the journal, and if they're approved, the authors are guaranteed publication in advance. That would encourage less fiddling with the protocol after the fact.
And the Laura and John Arnold Foundation now offers grant money specifically for replication studies, Nosek said.