Committee Offers Guidelines For Promoting Transparency and Openness

Also in the Policy Forum section of this week’s edition of Science is a longer paper on how journals and scientific organizations might promote transparency and openness in their research.  The Transparency and Openness Promotion Committee developed the guidelines, which are also available on the website of the Center for Open Science, one of the parties involved in the project.  The committee met in November of 2014, and was organized by representatives from the Center for Open Science, Science magazine and the Berkeley Initiative for Transparency in the Social Sciences.

Signing on to these guidelines means the organizations and journals are expressing support for the guidelines.  It also represents a commitment to review those guidelines for possible adoption.

The guidelines have eight kinds of standards: citations, data, analytic methods, research materials, reporting research design and analysis, preregistration of studies and preregistration of analysis.  For each of these standards categories, there are three levels of disclosure.  Per the guidelines, “Level 1 recommends citation standards, Level 2 requires adherence to citation standards, and Level 3 requires and enforces adherence to citation standards.”

The appropriate level for each type is something that each journal and/or organization can decide for itself.  There are variations in scientific norms by field where citations are concerned, and there are also matters of infrastructure and expense to consider.

So this project has come to the beginning of the middle.  Over the next several months the many signatories should be reviewing their practices and determining which standards they will adopt and at what level.  If your field has signed on, see what you can do to ensure that a commitment is made to follow these guidelines.



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