The German Research Foundation (DFG) establishes 14 new priority programs for 2021

May 29, 2020

The German Research Foundation (DFG) has approved the application for the interdisciplinary priority program called "META-REP: A meta-scientific program to analyze and optimize replicability in the behavioral, social, and cognitive sciences".

The priority program lead by the program committee – Prof. Mario Gollwitzer, Prof. Katrin Auspurg, Dr. Tina Lonsdorf,  PD Felix Schönbrodt and Dr. Susann Fiedler – will foster scientific research in the field of replicability for six years.

The purpose of the Priority Program is to examine fundamental scientific issues relating to particularly topical or emerging areas of research. All the programmes are highly interdisciplinary and are notable for their application of innovative methods. Supporting early-career researchers is a key aspect of PPs, and all new groups also have an equal-opportunity concept.

Program Committee


Prof. Dr. Mario Gollwitzer
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich

Other Members:  

Prof. Dr. Katrin Auspurg
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich

Dr. Susann Fiedler
Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, Bonn

Dr. Tina Lonsdorf
University Clinic, Hamburg-Eppendorf

PD Dr. Felix Schönbrodt
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich


The behavioral, social, and cognitive sciences are in the midst of an intensive debate about the replicability of their empirical findings. Shaken by the results of many replication projects that have been conducted in recent years, scholars have begun discussing (1) what replicability actually means and when a replication can be regarded as successful vs. failed; (2) whether low replication rates are due to too many false positive findings in the literature, to methodological weaknesses in the replication studies, or to the underappreciated influence of contextual effects; and (3) what can be done to secure, effectively and sustainably, a high level of replicability in the behavioral, social, and cognitive sciences. So far, most of these discussions have been based on ad-hoc arguments. Thus, a concerted, integrative, and interdisciplinary meta-scientific research program is needed to scrutinize these arguments systematically. “META-REP” is such a program. Projects joining “METAREP” will contribute to the emerging field of replication science. More specifically, projects will (1) define, operationalize, and assess replicability and replication success (vs. failure) in their respective fields, precisely and validly (the “what” question); (2) comprehensively explain why replication rates vary across and within scientific fields (the “why” question); and (3) evaluate and optimize the effectiveness and suitability of potential strategies aimed at increasing or maintaining replication rates in different fields (the “how” question). The results from this program will be relevant for all sciences that discuss issues of replicability. On a broader level, this program will enrich the public discourse about the credibility, the value, and the usefulness of science in general.

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