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  • Royal Society Open Science
Data availability, reusability, and analytic reproducibility: evaluating the impact of a mandatory open data policy at the journal Cognition
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Access to data is a critical feature of an efficient, progressive and ultimately self-correcting scientific ecosystem. But the extent to which in-principle benefits of data sharing are realized in practice is unclear. Crucially, it is largely unknown whether published findings can be reproduced by repeating reported analyses upon shared data (‘analytic reproducibility’). To investigate this, we conducted an observational evaluation of a mandatory open data policy introduced at the journal Cognition. Interrupted time-series analyses indicated a substantial post-policy increase in data available statements (104/417, 25% pre-policy to 136/174, 78% post-policy), although not all data appeared reusable (23/104, 22% pre-policy to 85/136, 62%, post-policy). For 35 of the articles determined to have reusable data, we attempted to reproduce 1324 target values. Ultimately, 64 values could not be reproduced within a 10% margin of error. For 22 articles all target values were reproduced, but 11 of these required author assistance. For 13 articles at least one value could not be reproduced despite author assistance. Importantly, there were no clear indications that original conclusions were seriously impacted. Mandatory open data policies can increase the frequency and quality of data sharing. However, suboptimal data curation, unclear analysis specification and reporting errors can impede analytic reproducibility, undermining the utility of data sharing and the credibility of scientific findings.

Subject:
Information Science
Material Type:
Reading
Provider:
Royal Society Open Science
Author:
Alicia Hofelich Mohr
Bria Long
Elizabeth Clayton
Erica J. Yoon
George C. Banks
Gustav Nilsonne
Kyle MacDonald
Mallory C. Kidwell
Maya B. Mathur
Michael C. Frank
Michael Henry Tessler
Richie L. Lenne
Sara Altman
Tom E. Hardwicke
Date Added:
08/07/2020
Did awarding badges increase data sharing in BMJ Open? A randomized controlled trial
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Sharing data and code are important components of reproducible research. Data sharing in research is widely discussed in the literature; however, there are no well-established evidence-based incentives that reward data sharing, nor randomized studies that demonstrate the effectiveness of data sharing policies at increasing data sharing. A simple incentive, such as an Open Data Badge, might provide the change needed to increase data sharing in health and medical research. This study was a parallel group randomized controlled trial (protocol registration: doi:10.17605/OSF.IO/PXWZQ) with two groups, control and intervention, with 80 research articles published in BMJ Open per group, with a total of 160 research articles. The intervention group received an email offer for an Open Data Badge if they shared their data along with their final publication and the control group received an email with no offer of a badge if they shared their data with their final publication. The primary outcome was the data sharing rate. Badges did not noticeably motivate researchers who published in BMJ Open to share their data; the odds of awarding badges were nearly equal in the intervention and control groups (odds ratio = 0.9, 95% CI [0.1, 9.0]). Data sharing rates were low in both groups, with just two datasets shared in each of the intervention and control groups. The global movement towards open science has made significant gains with the development of numerous data sharing policies and tools. What remains to be established is an effective incentive that motivates researchers to take up such tools to share their data.

Subject:
Information Science
Material Type:
Reading
Provider:
Royal Society Open Science
Author:
Adrian Aldcroft
Adrian G. Barnett
Anisa Rowhani-Farid
Date Added:
08/07/2020
Research practices and statistical reporting quality in 250 economic psychology master's theses: a meta-research investigation
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The replicability of research findings has recently been disputed across multiple scientific disciplines. In constructive reaction, the research culture in psychology is facing fundamental changes, but investigations of research practices that led to these improvements have almost exclusively focused on academic researchers. By contrast, we investigated the statistical reporting quality and selected indicators of questionable research practices (QRPs) in psychology students' master's theses. In a total of 250 theses, we investigated utilization and magnitude of standardized effect sizes, along with statistical power, the consistency and completeness of reported results, and possible indications of p-hacking and further testing. Effect sizes were reported for 36% of focal tests (median r = 0.19), and only a single formal power analysis was reported for sample size determination (median observed power 1 − β = 0.67). Statcheck revealed inconsistent p-values in 18% of cases, while 2% led to decision errors. There were no clear indications of p-hacking or further testing. We discuss our findings in the light of promoting open science standards in teaching and student supervision.

Subject:
Psychology
Material Type:
Reading
Provider:
Royal Society Open Science
Author:
Erich Kirchler
Jerome Olsen
Johanna Mosen
Martin Voracek
Date Added:
08/07/2020
The natural selection of bad science
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CC BY
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Poor research design and data analysis encourage false-positive findings. Such poor methods persist despite perennial calls for improvement, suggesting that they result from something more than just misunderstanding. The persistence of poor methods results partly from incentives that favour them, leading to the natural selection of bad science. This dynamic requires no conscious strategizing—no deliberate cheating nor loafing—by scientists, only that publication is a principal factor for career advancement. Some normative methods of analysis have almost certainly been selected to further publication instead of discovery. In order to improve the culture of science, a shift must be made away from correcting misunderstandings and towards rewarding understanding. We support this argument with empirical evidence and computational modelling. We first present a 60-year meta-analysis of statistical power in the behavioural sciences and show that power has not improved despite repeated demonstrations of the necessity of increasing power. To demonstrate the logical consequences of structural incentives, we then present a dynamic model of scientific communities in which competing laboratories investigate novel or previously published hypotheses using culturally transmitted research methods. As in the real world, successful labs produce more ‘progeny,’ such that their methods are more often copied and their students are more likely to start labs of their own. Selection for high output leads to poorer methods and increasingly high false discovery rates. We additionally show that replication slows but does not stop the process of methodological deterioration. Improving the quality of research requires change at the institutional level.

Subject:
Statistics and Probability
Material Type:
Reading
Provider:
Royal Society Open Science
Author:
Paul E. Smaldino
Richard McElreath
Date Added:
08/07/2020