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Publication Bias Reconsidered

Abstract

In political science and many other disciplines, statistically significant results—rejections of the null hypothesis—are achieved more frequently in published than in unpublished studies. Such “publication bias” is generally seen as the consequence of a widespread prejudice against statistically nonsignificant results. I argue that evidence of such a prejudice is in surprisingly short supply and that publication bias can occur even in the absence of such a prejudice and even if the review process is functioning perfectly. More importantly, publication bias may stem from dutiful application of standards of scientific inquiry rather than from irrational prejudice.

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Political Analysis
  • ISSN: 1047-1987
  • EISSN: 1476-4989
  • URL: /core/journals/political-analysis
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