Berkeley Initiative for Transparency in the Social Sciences

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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.

Science Magazine Releases Special Issue on Digital Privacy

Yesterday, January 29th, Science Magazine released a new Special Issue entitled The End of Privacy. In line with its theme, the edition will be made available online at no cost for the first week following publication. Take this chance to look through!

For scientists, the vast amounts of data that people shed every day offer great new opportunities but new dilemmas as well. New computational techniques can identify people or trace their behavior by combining just a few snippets of data. There are ways to protect the private information hidden in big data files, but they limit what scientists can learn; a balance must be struck.

Boldly declaring “Privacy as we have known is ending and we’re only beginning to fathom the consequences,” the Special Issue deals with a host of topics related to different facets of data deposition, use, and confidentiality. Included in the publication are formal reports and new articles.

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Scientists Have a Sharing Problem

Dec 15th Maggie Puniewska posted an article in the Atlantic Magazine summarizing the obstacles preventing researchers from sharing their data.


The article asks if “science has traditionally been a field that prizes collaboration […] then why [are] so many scientists stingy with their information.”

Puniewska outlines the most cited reasons scientists reframe from sharing their data.

The culture of innovation breeds fierce competition, and those on the brink of making a groundbreaking discovery want to be the first to publish their results and receive credit for their ideas.

[I]f sharing data paves the way for an expert to build upon or dispute other scientists’ results in a revolutionary way, it’s easy to see why some might choose to withhold.

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Data Access and Research Transparency Panel @ APSA 2014

Join the BITSS co-sponsored panel Implementing Data Access and Research Transparency: Multiple Challenges, Multiple Perspectives at the upcoming meeting of the American Political Science Association (August 27-31, 2014 — Washington, DC).

Chairs
:
  • Colin Elman, Syracuse University
  • Arthur Lupia, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

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Research Transparency, Data Access, and Data Citation: A Call to Action for Scholarly Publications

This collaborative statement calls upon the scholarly publishing community to take leadership in advancing knowledge through research transparency, data access, and data citation.

Please consider adding your name to the endorsements page and encourage others to do the same.

This Call to Action was produced at the “Data Citation and Research Transparency Standards for the Social Sciences” meeting convened by the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) on June 13-14, 2013 in Ann Arbor, MI, with support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

The document has already attracted much attention. It was was discussed at a recent meeting of the Consortium of Social Science Associations (COSSA), where participants agreed to hold additional discussions on the issue. It is also on the agenda of an upcoming meeting of the American Political Science Association (APSA) to discuss common policies for political science journals.

Feedback Wanted: Publishers & Data Access

Data Pub

This post is co-authored with Jennifer Lin, PLOS

Short Version: We need your help!

We have generated a set of recommendations for publishers to help increase access to data in partnership with libraries, funders, information technologists, and other stakeholders. Please read and comment on the report (Google Doc), and help us to identify concrete action items for each of the recommendations here (EtherPad).

Background and Impetus

The recent governmental policies addressing access to research data from publicly funded research across the US, UK, and EU reflect the growing need for us to revisit the way that research outputs are handled. These recent policies have implications for many different stakeholders (institutions, funders, researchers) who will need to consider the best mechanisms for preserving and providing access to the outputs of government-funded research.

The infrastructure for providing access to data is largely still being architected and built. In this context, PLOS and the UC Curation Center hosted a set of leaders…

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Research Transparency Landscape

A landscape of funder data access policies and other resources, by Stephanie Wykstra.

New technology makes sharing research outputs– not just publications but also raw data, code, software, even lab notebooks – easier than ever before. The benefits from more open science are widely acknowledged. Yet there is still room for improvement: recent studies show that at least in some fields, sharing isn’t yet widespread. There are also a number of questions that remain: what should be shared, how and who should cover the costs? Even where it’s clear that research transparency should become the norm, answering these questions across diverse domains is challenging and will require much work and cooperation.

This landscape hopes to inform funders about available options to foster data-sharing and transparency, and briefly surveys some initiatives in the “research transparency” field more broadly, with the aim of facilitating collaboration.