Sunday, February 21, 2021

Methodological reforms, or, If we all want the same things, why can't we be friends?

 (tl;dr: "Ugh, can't we just get along?!" OR "aspirational reform meet actual policy?" OR "whither metascience?")

This post started out as a thread about the tribes of methodological reform in psychology, all of whom I respect and admire. Then it got too long, so it became a blogpost. 

As folks might know, I think methodological reform in psychology is critical (some of my views have been formed by my work with the ManyBabies consortium). For the last ~2 years, I've been watching two loose groups of methodological reformers get mad at each other. It has made me very sad to see these conflicts because I like all of the folks involved. I've actually felt like I've had to take a twitter holiday several times because I can't stand to see some of my favorite folks on the platform yelling at each other. 

This post is my - perhaps misguided - attempt to express appreciation for everyone involved and try to spell out some common ground.

Monday, February 8, 2021

Transparency and openness is an ethical duty, for individuals and institutions

(tl;dr: I wrote an opinion piece a couple of years ago - now rejected - on the connection between ethics and open science. Rather than letting it just get even staler than it was, here it is as a blog post.)

In the past few years, journals, societies, and funders have increasingly oriented themselves towards open science reforms, which are intended to improve reproducibility and replicability. Typically, transparency policies focus on open access to publications and the sharing of data, analytic code, and other research products. 

Many working scientists have a general sense that transparency is a positive value, but also have concerns about specific initiatives. For example, sharing data often carries confidentiality risks that can only be mitigated via substantial additional effort. Further, many scientists worry about personal or career consequences from being “scooped” or having errors discovered. And transparency policies sometimes require resources that are not be available to researchers outside of rich institutions. 

I argue below that despite these worries, scientists have an ethical duty to be open. Further, where this duty is in conflict with scientists' other responsibilities, we need to lobby our institutions – universities, journals, and funders – to mitigate the costs and risks of openness.