Berkeley Initiative for Transparency in the Social Sciences

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SSMART Grants!

Garret Christensen–BITSS Project Scientist

Remember how a couple months ago, BITSS announced that we had launched a prize for especially transparent research and teaching? (Read this if you missed it.) Well, today we’re announcing that we’re also looking to fund research on transparency. Of course, you have to do the funded research transparently, meaning that you’ll be doing transparent research on transparency, which I think earns you double bonus points. To make this even more meta, we’re also looking to fund meta-analysis.

To be specific, BITSS is launching our 2015 Grants for Social Science Meta-Analysis and Research Transparency (SSMART). Full details and the RFP are here. Briefly, we are looking to fund research in three categories: (more…)

Announcing the Leamer-Rosenthal Prizes for Open Social Science

New prizes will recognize and reward transparency in social science research.

BERKELEY, CA (May 13, 2015) – Transparent research is integral to the validity of science. Openness is especially important in such social science disciplines as economics, political science and psychology, because this research shapes policy and influences clinical practices that affect millions of lives. To encourage openness in research and the teaching of best practices, the Berkeley Initiative for Transparency in the Social Sciences (BITSS) has established The Leamer-Rosenthal Prizes for Open Social Science. BITSS is an initiative of the Center for Effective Global Action (CEGA) at the University of California, Berkeley. The prizes, which provide recognition, visibility and cash awards to both the next generation of researchers and senior faculty, are generously supported by the John Templeton Foundation.

The competition is open to scholars and educators worldwide.

“In academia, career advances and research funding are usually awarded on the basis of how many journal articles a scientist publishes. This incentive structure can encourage researchers to dramatize their findings in ways that increase the probability of publication, sometimes even at the expense of transparency and integrity,” said Edward Miguel, PhD, Professor of Economics at UC Berkeley and Faculty Director of CEGA. “The Leamer-Rosenthal Prizes will help speed the adoption of transparent practices by recognizing and rewarding researchers and educators whose work and teaching exemplify the best in open social science.”


Call for Papers: Working Group in African Political Economy (WGAPE)

BITSS is co-sponsoring the 4th Working Group in African Political Economy (WGAPE) Annual Meeting, taking place May 29-30 at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, Brown University.

WGAPE brings together faculty and advanced graduate students in Economics and Political Science who combine field research experience in Africa with training in political economy methods. Paper submissions must reflect WGAPE’s broad research agenda on core issues within the political economy of African development and encourages submissions of works-in-progress.

In addition, this year’s call for papers invites submissions of Pre-Analysis Plans (PAPs). There will be one dedicated session to the presentation and discussion of a PAP at this meeting.

  • Please find the full call for paper here.
  • Papers must be uploaded here by 11:59pm PT on April 19th.
  • Successful applicants will be notified by May 1st and will be invited to attend the full symposium.
  • WGAPE will cover the cost of economy travel, accommodation and dining (capped).

For further information, please contact Elisa Cascardi (CEGA) at

BITSS is hiring!

BITSS is seeking a Senior Program Manager and Coordinator. Applications for both positions will be reviewed on a rolling basis until May 10 for employment beginning in June/July 2015.

The Senior Program Manager will be responsible for the overall management, leadership, and oversight of the initiative. The ideal candidate should have:

  • MA/MS in Economics, Political Science, Management Sciences, or a related discipline. PhDs are also encouraged to apply.
  • 5-10 years professional experience in an academic, non-profit, or social enterprise setting.
  • Demonstrated interest in and knowledge of empirical social science research, evidence- based policy, and research transparency.

The Program Coordinator will be responsible for the development and design of training and communication content for BITSS, including online courses, social media strategies, research dissemination plans, and outreach events. The ideal candidate should have:

  • BA/BS in Design, Communication, Computer Science, or Journalism; or BA/BS in Economics, Political Science, or related discipline, with a solid grasp of design and communication.
  • 1-3 years professional experience managing design, communication, or online content development.
  • Proven track record developing websites and online content, including proficiency with markup languages and platforms such as Weebly or WordPress.

Full job descriptions as well as application instructions can be found on the CEGA job page.

TIER Faculty Fellowships 2015-16

Richard Ball, Associate Professor of Economics, and Norm Medeiros, Associate Librarian, of Haverford College, are co-principal investigators of Project TIER. They are seeking the first class of TIER Fellows to promote and extend teaching of transparent and reproducible empirical research methods.

Project TIER (Teaching Integrity in Empirical Research) is an initiative that promotes training in open and transparent methods of quantitative research in the undergraduate and graduate curricula across all the social sciences.

The Project anticipates awarding three or four TIER Faculty Fellowships for the 2015-16 academic year. Fellows will collaborate with TIER leadership and work independently to develop and disseminate transparent research methods that are suitable for adoption by students writing theses, dissertations or other supervised papers, or that can be incorporated into classes in which students conduct quantitative research.

The period of the Fellowships will be from June 1, 2015 through June 30, 2016. Each Fellow will receive a stipend of $5,000.

Applications are due April 19, 2015. Early inquiries and expressions of interest are encouraged. To learn more and apply, visit

Now Accepting Applications for Summer Institute

BITSS is pleased to announce it is now accepting applications to attend its 2015 Summer Institute.

This year’s workshop entitled “Transparency and Reproducibility Methods for Social Science Research” will be held in Berkeley, June 10-12. The intensive course will provide participants with a thorough overview of best practices for open, reproducible research, allowing them to remain in the vanguard of new scientific frontiers.

The 2014 Cohort of the BITSS Institute

The 2014 Cohort of the BITSS Institute

Topics covered include:

  • Ethics in Experimental Research
  • False-positives, P-hacking, P-curve, Power Analysis
  • Data Management & Statistical Analysis in R
  • Theory and Implementation of Pre-analysis Plans
  • Approaches to the Replication of Research
  • Meta-analyses: New Tools & Techniques
  • Next Steps in Changing Scientific Research Practices


Announcing New Grants for Data Publication!

The Berkeley Initiative for Transparency in the Social Sciences (BITSS), the Center for Effective Global Action (CEGA), and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation are pleased to announce the Sloan Grants for Data Publication.

Regardless of how transparent or rigorous a study design may be, if the study materials (datasets, code, metadata, etc.) are not made publicly available, the research community cannot verify the study’s results. This has prompted research funding institutions, BITSS and its allies to push for data publication.

Unfortunately, the incentives to publish studies materials remain limited. Consequently, few researchers have the bandwidth to take on the burdensome task of preparing study materials for public access. This results in the loss of valuable resources for the research community and the public alike.

We would like to help CEGA and BITSS affiliated researchers get through the last hurdles in finalizing replication sets by giving out grants up to $5,000 to help increase the “transparency footprint” of our community within the next year. We hope these small grants will aid in the hiring of RAs to create and finalize replication sets or support researchers own workflow in a way that increases their ability to make data and study materials available online. Please fill in this short expression of interest by March 15, 2015 to apply.

We look forward to seeing just how many datasets we can make publicly available!

Please contact BITSS Program Coordinator Alex Wais with any questions.