As I stated in a previous post, I just got done with a “tour of duty” on a search committee for three full-time tenure-track psychology faculty positions.
Last year, we started asking finalists about their open science practices. The experience was eye opening:
This year, we moved the question about open science to the initial screening many candidates across the three positions had great responses to the question. Unfortunately, not all of them did. Here are some of the biggest open science fails I saw this year:
Dodging the Question
I have been fortunate to work as part of a research team which stresses collaborative and innovative research. We are actively engaged in preparing research manuscripts for publication and the pursuit of research funding opportunities. We also work with project stakeholders from an applied research perspective to deliver educational materials and disseminate information on the progress and outcomes of our programs. My involvement with this research team has also afforded me the opportunity to work with undergraduate and graduate students on various research projects, as well as extension educators.
I do believe in open science, but . . .
This candidate then stated that they have not implemented any open science practices into their work without explaining why. 🙄
Couldn’t Be Bothered to Google “Open Science”
I don’t really know what that is, but I favor it.
I have engaged in open science in qualitative work by going back to my participants to see if my interpretations of what they said makes sense to them.
Each year I volunteer for Brain Awareness Week at a local museum . . .
While teaching Anatomy & Physiology to Medical Assistants, we dissected sheep brains as part of the course. The students learned that the sheep brain is very similar to the human brain, with the motor, sensory, visual, auditory, olfactory, and gustatory cortices being very similar. The basal nuclei, diencephalon, brain stem, cerebellum, and all other parts of the brain and spinal cord are the same.
I am a big advocate for open educational resources (OER). I have worked to develop two courses to function using OER resources. I believe students should have affordable academic resources.
I introduce students to a number of research articles and meta-analyses as a part of assignments asking them to comment.
I have participated in and encouraged my mentees to participate in scientific outreach activities.
I have often used open source texts and journal articles in place of physical texts.
If You Oppose Open Science, Just Say So
It is important to make people aware of the risks of open science, like predatory journals.
All of my data is available upon request. I also have written articles and op-eds [for non-scholarly outlets]
One Final Excuse
I have been unable to engage in open science at my current institution.
This last excuse would have held water a few years ago, but it does not any more. The replication crisis started in 2011, and everyone in psychology has heard about it–even graduate school mentors.
If your graduate school mentor or department won’t practice open science, then it is up to you to take matters into your own hands. Practice open science in your own side projects. Register for an OSF account. Practice open peer review. Upload some syntax. Pre-register your data analysis. These are things that even the most downtrodden graduate student can do without their mentor’s permission.
If you’re on the job market now or in the near future, don’t be caught off guard. More and more hiring committees are expecting open science from their applicants. Eight years is plenty of time to implement open science practices. The grace period is ending.
Be ready to answer the question about open science. It is not necessary (and, sometimes, not possible) to practice every aspect of open science. But being able to discuss a few actions you have taken to improve science is an improvement over the responses that I’ve listed above.