Weekly digest: what’s happening in open science?

Sarah Hewitt

This week brings a transparent approach to secondary data analysis and draft recommendations for open science from UNESCO. We learn that 54% of European universities have an open science policy in place, and we hear about Research4Life’s progress in the Global South. Meanwhile, Jisc and PNAS sign a transformative agreement, and PLOS calls for research methods to be given greater precedence. Finally, we read about how science should receive the same level of scrutiny as competitive gaming.

Double-dipped data declaration via Center for Open Science | 4-minute read

Using the same data to both generate and test a hypothesis, or ‘double-dipping’, is a common practice that can lead to false positives because researchers hypothesize once results are known. However, revisiting ‘used’ data may be acceptable when a researcher’s knowledge of the data set is unrelated to the new hypothesis. Preregistration of secondary data analyses means that other researchers can assess prior knowledge. Open Science Framework, a research-sharing platform maintained by the Center for Open Science, has created a template to facilitate the preregistration of secondary data analyses.

UNESCO drafts open science recommendations via The Publication Plan | 2-minute read

UNESCO has drafted its Recommendation on Open Science, which aims to enable universal access to scientific knowledge. The document outlines the objectives and actions that should be incorporated into open science policies, including recommendations on promoting open access, improving transparency, and increasing participation in research and access to educational resources.

Half of European universities have an open science policy via Science|Business | 3-minute read

A recent survey from the European University Association (EUA) has found that 54% of European universities have an open science policy. The 2020–2021 EUA Open Science Survey, with 270 responses from 36 European countries, assessed the development of open science in European universities. Publishing open access research was considered highly important for 90% of respondents, but only 60% felt that open access implementation was high. The EUA recommends increasing incentives and opportunities for engagement with open science.

Research4Life turns 20 via The Scholarly Kitchen | 10-minute read

Research4Life was set up twenty years ago to provide institutions in low- and middle-income countries with online access to peer-reviewed academic content. In this guest post, Domiziana Francescon, Co-Chair of the Communications team at Research4Life, discusses the latest 5-yearly review of the organization’s work. Meanwhile, Research4Life has also announced a refurbished user portal that now allows searches to be saved and that is optimized for mobile devices.

Jisc negotiates transformative agreement with PNAS via PNAS | 2-minute read

Jisc, a consortium of 156 UK universities, has announced a 2-year transformative agreement with the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The deal will allow participating UK institutions to publish open access articles in PNAS for free, and grants researchers free access to all PNAS content, including its archives.

Call to increase visibility of research methods via The Official PLOS Blog | 5-minute read

Methods should be given greater precedence in the scientific record. While the analysis of data can be subject to researcher bias and interpretation, thorough reporting of methodology allows a study to be accurately reproduced. Indeed, the well-known issue of low reproducibility of scientific studies may be partly caused by poorly described research methods. PLOS argues that methods should be treated as stand-alone research articles, and that sharing clear and accessible methodology increases trust and transparency in science.

Science would benefit from the scrutiny of competitive gaming via The Atlantic | 10-minute read

The science community should learn from the gaming community when it comes to fraud detection. In this opinion piece, psychologist Stuart Ritchie highlights the rigour of gaming moderators and the gaming community in detecting fraudulent videos of speedrunning (a competition in which a video game is completed as fast as possible). The fraudulent techniques used in fake speedrunning videos and in fake science are similar, including the doctoring and splicing of images. However, published scientific papers rarely receive as much scrutiny as competitive gaming, and cases of scientific fraud are largely undocumented by the media, necessitating improved fraud detection and reporting in science.

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