Can We Do Better? Replication and Online Appendices in Political Science Reflection
By Jonathan Grossman, Hebrew University of Jerusalem andAmi Pedahzur, University of Texas at Austin
Replicability in political science is on the rise, as disciplinary journals have been placing a growing emphasis on data access and research transparency (DA–RT) practices and policies. As a result, nearly every article that is published today in leading political science journals offers an online appendix that includes data, code, and methodological explanations necessary for replication. While these developments are laudable, many appendices still do not enable satisfactory replication because they are inaccessible, compartmentalized, and difficult to understand. In this article and in its accompanying online appendix, we demonstrate this problem and make the case for more accessible and comprehensive appendices whose contribution can fulfill and go beyond mere replicability. We propose several ways in which authors and journals can produce better appendices, namely, by making appendices more intuitive, integrated, and standardized, and by choosing an adequate online platform on which to create and host the appendix.