2024 AALAC Workshop on Reproducibility and Replicability in the Liberal Arts

Participants: see the Workshop Logistics and what to Prepare


President Biden declared 2023 the Year of Open Science for “restoring trust in government through scientific integrity and evidence-based policymaking”. The National Academies (NASEM 2019) and National Science Foundation have called for increased funding for research and pedagogy on reproducibility and replicability (R&R) to address the replication crisis. These fast-moving developments have fundamental implications for teaching and research at liberal arts colleges.

We define reproduction of a prior study as using the same methodology with the same data to obtain the same results. Reproducibility, closely tied to open science, offers opportunities to check the internal validity of prior studies. We define replication of a prior study as using the same methodology with new data. Replicability builds upon reproducibility to externally validate prior studies and test their generalizability. The replication crisis highlights the failure of validation and self-correction in science due to inadequate scientific communication, bias, and fraud.

We propose a workshop to advance open science and R&R in the liberal arts. We are scholars at the forefront of developing innovative pedagogy to train the next generation of open scientists in our respective disciplines. Teaching R&R is complementary to a liberal arts education: it challenges students to develop their writing, communication skills, and data/code literacy, and to critically apply ethics and sociology of science. Students can also learn cutting edge science by replicating published studies, as Middlebury students have done with geographic COVID-19 research.


We invite participation spanning scientific disciplines (social, natural, computational), career stage, and professional roles (faculty, librarians, or other staff supporting computational or quantitative research). We particularly encourage participation from experts in liberal arts education, science and technology studies, or the humanities who are interested in the role reproducibility and replicability may play in the liberal arts curriculum. The midd.data program may provide additional support for Middlebury faculty participation, and academic deans or provosts may provide additional support from other AALAC member faculty.

Proposed Sessions

  • Guest lecture Dr Kedron: R&R frontiers in spatial convergence science
  • Accessing workshop content and collaborating on GitHub.com
  • State of R&R across disciplines
  • Research: mentoring student reproduction and replication studies
  • Pedagogy: R&R in the liberal arts
  • Infrastructure: support and barriers at liberal arts colleges
  • Share best practices for teaching and research through discussion and examples
  • Compile R&R curriculum resources
  • Strategies for outreach and expanding R&R at our institutions
  • Draft action plans and next steps, including syllabi, course modules, and research

Anticipated Outcomes and Products

  • GitHub organization for post-workshop collaboration and resource sharing with a public-facing web page
  • Position paper on Liberal Arts R&R education for the next generation of researchers
  • Individual participants to advance R&R in their own teaching and research


  • Pre- and post-workshop surveys
  • Ongoing collaboration via GitHub
  • One year post-workshop qualitative interview on outcomes from action items

Download a PDF of the original Workshop Proposal.

See the The Alliance to Advance Liberal Arts Colleges for other workshops and information on proposing a workshop.