APS Commits to Promoting Transparent Science

This is a photo of a magnifying glass on papers.Conducting research in a transparent, open, and reproducible way is essential to achieving credible results that advance knowledge in any scientific discipline. Yet, there is no set of organized rules that defines and encourages such open and transparent practices.

Today in the journal Science, the Transparency and Openness Promotion (TOP) Committee announced TOP Guidelines, a set of guidelines that offer “a concrete and actionable strategy toward improving research and publishing practices.”

To date, 111 different journals and 34 organizations, including the Association for Psychological Science, have signed on in support of the idea of using publication guidelines to promote open science practices.

“The journals and organizations signing on to these guidelines represent a broad coalition across scientific disciplines, all aimed at better, clearer and more transparent reporting of important research,” said APS Executive Director Alan Kraut in a statement issued by the Center for Open Science.

The TOP guidelines — which place a primary focus on promoting disclosure of data, code, and procedures — are designed to be considered and adopted by academic journals. Journal editors can choose to adopt any or all of the eight standards found in the TOP guidelines, such as requiring that statistical code be made public or encouraging the submission of replication studies. Importantly, journal editors can choose more- or less-stringent versions of these standards, depending on the needs and practicalities relevant to their field.

“Transparency is in science’s collective interest, but not in scientists’ personal interests,” Center for Open Science Executive Director Brian Nosek noted in the statement. “The collective action of the signatories to the TOP Guidelines can help shift the scientific culture toward greater transparency.”

APS has been at the forefront of the movement advocating for improved research practices across all sciences. In recent years, APS has launched several of its own initiatives aimed at transparency and reproducibility, including Registered Replication Reports published in the APS journal Perspectives on Psychological Science, updated author submission guidelines for the flagship APS journal Psychological Science, and an ongoing focus on research methodology in special journal sections, convention symposia, and workshops.

The Science article is available online.

The full text of the TOP guidelines can be found here.


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