This article situates the current discussion of reproducibility and replicability taking place across the sciences within geographers’ enduring discussion of nomothetic and idiographic approaches, best exemplified by the Hartshorne–Schaefer debate. Although the Hartshorne–Schaefer debate retrospectively set the stage for the development of geography from the 1950s to the present, it is surprising that direct discussions of reproducibility and replicability remain mostly absent from the geographic literature. Drawing from recent literature on reproducibility and replicability in the humanities and physical, social, and computational sciences, it is argued that a deeper focus on these issues will have varied impacts on the discipline. Adopting and improving reproducible practices in geographic research reliant on scientific methods will align geographic research with mainstream scientific inquiry. The discipline’s ever-growing diversity of theoretical perspectives and problem domains also makes it likely that a significant portion of geographic research, like many other fields in science, might not be affected by the issues and concerns of reproducibility and replicability. Moving forward, geographic research might continue to benefit from a pluralist framework that embraces both the nomothetic and idiographic approaches, particularly in a broader research environment increasingly defined by disciplinary synthesis and convergence.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Earth-Surface Processes