The Costs of HARKing

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Abstract
Kerr coined the term ‘HARKing’ to refer to the practice of ‘hypothesizing after the results are known’. This questionable research practice has received increased attention in recent years because it is thought to have contributed to low replication rates in science. The present article discusses the concept of HARKing from a philosophical standpoint and then undertakes a critical review of Kerr’s twelve potential costs of HARKing. It is argued that these potential costs are either misconceived, misattributed to HARKing, lacking evidence, or that they do not take into account pre- and post-publication peer review and public availability to research materials and data. It is concluded that it is premature to conclude that HARKing has led to low replication rates.
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RUBTCO-14
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First archival date: 2019-12-11
Latest version: 2 (2019-12-20)
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2019-12-04

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