Monday, January 6, 2014

Changes in standards for data reporting in psychology journals

Two prominent psychology journals are changing their standards for publication in order to address several long-standing debates in statistics (p-values v. effect sizes and point estimates of the mean v. confidence intervals).

Here are the details for changes that the Association for Psychological Science is creating for their gold-standard publication, Psychological Science, in order to improve the transparency in data reporting.

Some of the big changes include mandatory reporting of effect sizes, confidence intervals, and inclusion of any scales or measures that were non-significant. This might be useful in class when describing why p-values and means are imperfect, the old p-value v. effect size debate, and how one can bend the truth with statistics via research methodology (and glossing over/completely neglecting N.S. findings). These examples are also useful in demonstrating to your students that these issues we discuss in class have real world ramifications and aren't being taken lightly by research scientists.

Additionally, the Society of Personality and Social Psychology is implementing similar changes in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, as described here. SPSP is even going a step further and demanding open sharing of any data being considered for publication, as described here, and also asking authors to address issues of sample size/power.