Berkeley Initiative for Transparency in the Social Sciences

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“Creating tools is not the biggest challenge. The biggest challenge is getting people to use them”

Brian Nosek, Perspective from Psychology

This is the third post of a video series in which we ask leading social science academics and experts to discuss research transparency in their discipline. The interview was recorded on December 13, 2013 at the University of California, Berkeley.


The changing face of psychology

Important changes are underway in psychology. Transparency, reliability, and adherence to scientific methods are the key words for 2014, says a recent article in The Guardian.

A growing number of psychologists – particularly the younger generation – are fed up with results that don’t replicate, journals that value story-telling over truth, and an academic culture in which researchers treat data as their personal property. Psychologists are realising that major scientific advances will require us to stamp out malpractice, face our own weaknesses, and overcome the ego-driven ideals that maintain the status quo.


Doing the right thing: Yale psychology lab retracts monkey papers for inaccurate coding

Retraction Watch

developmental scienceIn the midst of the holiday season, it’s a pleasure to be able to share the story of a scientist doing the right thing at significant professional cost — especially a researcher in psychology, a field that has been battered lately by scandal.

Sometime after publishing two papers — one in Developmental Science and another in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology — Yale’s Laurie Santos and her students realized there were problems with their data. We’ll let Santos — who made sure to respond to our request for comment immediately, in the midst of holiday travel, so that we had all the details and could help get the word out — tell the story:

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Welcome To The Era of Big Replication

Reblogged from Ed Young:

Psychologists have been sailing through some pretty troubled waters of late. They’ve faced several cases of fraud, high-profile failures to repeat the results of classic experiments, and debates about commonly used methods that are recipes for sexy but misleading results. The critics, many of whom are psychologists themselves, say that these lines of evidence point towards a “replicability crisis”, where an unknown proportion of the field’s results simply aren’t true.

To address these concerns, a team of scientists from 36 different labs joined together, like some sort of verification Voltron, to replicate 13 experiments from past psychological studies. They chose experiments that were simple and quick to do, and merged them into a single online package that volunteers could finish in just 15 minutes.

They then delivered their experimental smorgasbord to 6,344 people from 36 different groups and 12 different countries.

This is Big Replication—scientific self-correction on a massive scale.

Read more…

New Standards for Research Reporting in Psychology

Psychological Science, the flagship journal of the Association for Psychological Science (APS), is introducing innovative new guidelines for authors, part of an effort to strengthen the reporting and analysis of findings in psychological research.

Starting January 1, 2014, submitting authors will be required to state that they have disclosed all important methodological details, including excluded variables and additional manipulations and measures, as a way of encouraging methodological transparency […] Psychological Science will also serve as a launch vehicle for a program to promote open communication within the research community by recognizing authors who have made data, materials, and/or preregistered design and analysis plans publicly available with specific “badges.”

The new guidelines are available here and more information on the system of badges (developed by the Center for Open Science) can be found here.