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Promoting an open research culture

Transparency, openness, and reproducibility are readily recognized as vital features of science When asked, most scientists embrace these features as disciplinary norms and values. Therefore, one might expect that these valued features would be routine in daily practice. Yet, a growing body of evidence suggests that this is not the case.
A likely culprit for this disconnect is an academic reward system that does not sufficiently incentivize open practices. In the present reward system, emphasis on innovation may undermine practices that support verification. Too often, publication requirements (whether actual or perceived) fail to encourage transparent, open, and reproducible science.
The Transparency and Openness Promotion (TOP) Committee met at the Center for Open Science in Charlottesville, Virginia, in November 2014 to address one important element of the incentive systems: journals’ procedures and policies for publication. The committee consisted of disciplinary leaders, journal editors, funding agency representatives, and disciplinary experts largely from the social and behavioral sciences. The TOP guidelines include eight modular standards, each with three levels of increasing stringency. Journals select which of the eight transparency standards they wish to adopt for their journal, and select a level of implementation for each standard. The Guidelines feature standards on Data Citation, Data, Materials, and Code Transparency, Design and Analysis, Pre-registration, and Replication.

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