Philosophy of Open Science
Basics of Open Science
Open Science is based on the premise of increasing the transparency, accountability, and reproducibility in research. There are a lot of resources on Open Science (e.g.,this handbook), and each of the tenets of Open Science. Here is a very brief overview of some Open Science tenents, as I understand them.
- Open Data: Data reported in scientific papers are often not available to other researchers or the public. This presents several potential issues, including: How do we know that the data analysis was done correctly? How can we check the results of data we don’t have access to? Of course, sharing data may present ethical concerns regarding confidentiality and what is permitted by research ethics boards. The Open Data principle calls for us to make data freely accessible and redistributable across settings, to the extent possible.
- Open Materials: Research materials including data collection instruments (e.g., survey questionnaires, interview guides), data collection protocols, software, and data analysis code should be publicly available to allow for reproducibility.
- Open Access: Many scientific articles are behind journal paywalls, which means that you have to pay to have access to read the article or an institution must pay for you to have access. Open Access means that the publication can be freely accessed by anyone. Authors have several options to make a publication Open Access: (1) they can pay fees to the publisher (sometimes over $2,000 USD) to remove the cost from readers, or (2) they can use a pre- or post-print. Pre-prints are uploaded by the author to an academic archive prior to peer review. This allows other researchers to see the paper, authors to receive feedback, and permits the public to view the paper for free. Post-prints are allowed by some journals: this is the version of the paper that is accepted by the publisher, after peer review.
- Open Peer Review: Peer review is a hallmark of science publishing. Typically, peer review is “double-blind” or completely anonymous: the authors do not know the peer reviewers, and the peer reviewers do not know the authors. This allows the system to critique the science instead of the person conducting the science. Open Peer Review can mean making the process not anonymous (i.e., authors and reviewers may know each other’s identities), or can also be accomplished by providing the peer reviewer’s reports when the article is accepted for publishing.
I agree that it is a human right to have access to the benefits provided by science. I strongly hold that science conducted at public institutions and/or conducted using public money (including tax payer dollars through government, or non-profit grants) should be rigorous, accessible, and promote reproducibility.
Therefore, I will:
Work to increase the accessibility of my scientific papers: As mentioned above, publishing an article as Open Access through the publisher can cost over $2,000. In committing to increase access to my research I will work to provide a pre- or post-print for all future articles. If I have an article inaccessible to you, please contact me and I will send you a PDF as soon as possible. In addition, I will provide a description of all future publications regarding the relevance to public health and disclosures (e.g., conflicts of interest, who funded the research, etc.).
Advocate for a culture of high quality science: Scientists, in pursuit of career development and security, have largely developed an issue with striving for novelty and statistically significant results. High quality science does not have to be novel. Therefore, I will promote and advocate for a culture of science that encourages high quality without regard of “positive”/significant or “null” findings.
Work to ensure my materials and code are available: In aiming to increase transparency and reproducibility, I will work to make my study materials and statistical code publicly available. Data collection and recruitment materials will be publicly available through OSF and linked on individual papers.
Continue learning about Open Science: There are some areas of Open Science that I am less familiar with, such as Open Data. I will continue to learn about Open Science principles, including data sharing, to increase the transparency and reproducibility of my work.