One of the issues in the recent House subcommittee hearing on scientific integrity and data transparency was the lack of infrastructure to help researchers store their data in a way to make it accessible and usable for others to review the work and possibly replicate the results. A new center at the University of Virginia may represent one kind of infrastructure that will be needed to address the concerns of Congress.
The Center for Open Science is a non-profit center interested in developing that kind of infrastructure and related work on what it calls metascience – research and community building on scientific practices. It’s an outgrowth of the Open Science Collaborative as well as the Open Science Framework, and will host the Reproducibility Project (not to be confused with the similarly-focused Reproducibility Initiative).
Funded by a modest grant, the Center is organized more as a technology startup than a traditional academic center. As its work is situated outside of the current rewards structure for academic research, this makes a lot of sense to me. As Ed Yong wrote, the center is focused not on developing great science, but on making science greater.
For now the Center will focus on research in psychology, reflecting the disciplinary background of many of the people involved in the Center and related projects. Assuming that the Center can obtain additional funding (and Ed Yong’s piece suggests it could), it may stretch into additional fields of research. But if that’s not in the future for this center, I hope its example and innovations can encourage other similar centers to emerge in other fields.