I am a post-doctoral fellow working in Melbourne, Australia. As President for the Association for Interdisciplinary Meta-research and Open Science (AIMOS), I am passionate about making meta-research accessible to all improving the reliability and impact of scientific research. You can email me any time on hannahsfraser@gmail.com.

Research

I am a post-doctoral fellow working as research coordinator for the repliCATS project with the Interdisciplinary Meta-Research Group (IMeRG) in the School of BioSciences at the University of Melbourne. The majority of my time is spent coordinating the efforts of the repliCATS project which aims to develop accurate ways for researchers to evaluate the reliability of the scientific literature. The repliCATS project is part of the largest ever empirical study on how researchers reason about other researcher’s work, and what factors makes them trust it.

Outside of my work on the repliCATS project, my meta-research work focuses on understanding how people conduct research in different disciplines and working out how people can feasibly make their results more reliable. I am specifically interested bringing insights from disciplines that have studied problems with replicability and research practices to disciplines that aren’t as aware of these issues. One example of my work in this space is a paper we published on the rates of questionable research practices in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. The headline is that a lot of ecologists, like psychology and education researchers use practices that increase the chances of producing unreliable results (questionable research practices). I am currently working on a large scale collaboration aimed at understanding how differently people analyse the same data and what implications this has for conclusions in published articles. 

My research origins

My training is in ecology. I submitted my PhD in January 2017 as part of the Quantitative and Applied Ecology Group, based in the School of BioSciences at the University of Melbourne. During my PhD I investigated uncertainty around ‘woodland birds’; how we classify them, why we classify them differently, how this effects our conclusions and what we can do about it. I was lucky to have supervision from Mick McCarthy, Libby Rumpff and Cindy Hauser from Melbourne Uni and Georgia Garrard of RMIT University.

I began my PhD in 2013 with a thirst to save the environment. However, working around researchers doing ground breaking research changed my perspective slightly. The knowledge that goes into these researchers’ work is phenomenal and has the potential to provide important ecological insights but so often the work falls short of being used. I see it as my mission to make sure that the (fantastic) research these people are doing is as useful as it can possibly be.

In my ‘free time’ I put together a nomination to list the Temperate and Sub-tropical Woodland Bird Threatened Ecological Community as a Threatened Ecological Community under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, working closely with researchers from all over Australia.

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