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.

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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Creating Standards for Reproducible Research: Overview of COS Meeting

By Garret Christensen (BITSS)


Representatives from BITSS (CEGA Faculty Director Ted Miguel, CEGA Executive Director Temina Madon, and BITSS Assistant Project Scientist Garret Christensen–that’s me) spent Monday and Tuesday of this week at a very interesting workshop at the Center for Open Science aimed at creating standards for promoting reproducible research in the social-behavioral sciences. Perhaps the workshop could have used a catchier name or acronym for wider awareness, but we seemed to accomplish a great deal.  Representatives from across disciplines (economics, political science, psychology, sociology, medicine), from funders (NIH, NSF, Laura and John Arnold Foundation, Sloan Foundation), publishers (Science/AAAS, APA, Nature Publishing Group), editors (American Political Science Review, Psychological Science, Perspectives on Psychological Science, Science), data archivists (ICPSR), and researchers from over 40 leading institutions (UC Berkeley, MIT, University of Michigan, University of British Columbia, UVA, UPenn, Northwestern, among many others) came together to push forward on specific action items researchers and publishers can do to promote transparent and reproducible research.

The work was divided into five subcommittees:

1) Reporting standards in research design

2) Reporting standards in analysis

3) Replications

4) Pre-Registration/Registered Reports

5) Sharing data, code, and materials

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Call for Papers on Research Transparency

BITSS will be holding its 3rd annual conference at UC Berkeley on December 11-12, 2014. The goal of the meeting is to bring together leaders from academia, scholarly publishing, and policy to strengthen the standards of openness and integrity across social science disciplines.

This Call for Papers focuses on work that elaborates new tools and strategies to increase the transparency and reproducibility of research. A committee of reviewers will select a limited number of papers to be presented and discussed. Topics for papers include, but are not limited to:

  • Pre-registration and the use of pre-analysis plans;
  • Disclosure and transparent reporting;
  • Replicability and reproducibility;
  • Data sharing;
  • Methods for detecting and reducing publication bias or data mining.
Papers or long abstracts must be submitted by Friday, October 10th (midnight Pacific time) through CEGA’s Submission Platform. Travel funds may be provided for presenters. Eligible submissions include completed papers or works in progress.

The 2014 BITSS Conference is organized by the Center for Effective Global Action and co-sponsored by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the Laura and John Arnold Foundation.

The Ethics of Using and Sharing Data for Development Programming (5/22 @ NYC)

The Responsible Data Forum is a new effort to map the ethical, legal, privacy and security challenges surrounding the increased use and sharing of data in development programming. The Forum aims to explore the ways in which these challenges are experienced in project design and implementation, as well as when project data is shared or published for accountability purposes.

The outputs created in New York will be further refined at the Responsible Resource Sprint in Budapest (September 2014), before being used as training material for a workshop at the Development Data Lab in Amsterdam (29 June – 2 July).

When: 22 May 2014, 10AM – 5PM
Where: 99 Madison Ave (15th Floor), New York NY 10016

Registration required

New book: Implementing Reproducible Research

New book from Victoria Stodden, Friedrich Leisch, and Roger D. Peng: “Implementing Reproducible Research“.

In many of today’s research fields, including biomedicine, computational tools are increasingly being used so that the results can be reproduced. Researchers are now encouraged to incorporate software, data, and code in their academic papers so that others can replicate their research results. Edited by three pioneers in this emerging area, this book is the first one to explore this groundbreaking topic. It presents various computational tools useful in research, including cloud computing, data repositories, virtual machines, R’s Sweave function, XML-based programming, and more. It also discusses legal issues and case studies.

The chapters of the book are available for download for free on the OSF page.

Just published: SAGE handbook on Managing and Sharing Research Data

Research funders in the UK, USA and across Europe are implementing data management and sharing policies to maximize openness of data, transparency and accountability of the research they support. Written by experts from the UK Data Archive with over 20 years experience, this book gives post-graduate students, researchers and research support staff the data management skills required in today’s changing research environment.

The book features guidance on:

  • how to plan your research using a data management checklist
  • how to format and organize data
  • how to store and transfer data
  • research ethics and privacy in data sharing and intellectual property rights
  • data strategies for collaborative research
  • how to publish and cite data
  • how to make use of other people’s research data, illustrated with six real-life case studies of data use

Order the book here.