Open research: why it matters, and how I try to support it

What is open research, and why is it important?

Open Research (aka Open Science or Open Scholarship) refers to a movement to make the research process transparent, trustworthy, and openly accessible to all levels of society. Traditional research has relied heavily on trust—we trust authors that the data they describe really exist, that they’ve reported all analyses they did without omitting inconvenient results, that their hypotheses were derived before looking at the data, and so on.

Unfortunately, we have good reason to believe that this trust is regularly exploited, mostly by people with good intentions who have learned problematic research practices from earlier generations or simply need to survive in a precarious career path, but also occasionally by bad actors. Research on video games, and in the social sciences more broadly, is simply not very trustworthy.

Fortunately, we have equally strong reason to believe that the set of practices promoted by the open research movement can help. Such practices include preregistration (specifying one’s method and analysis plan in advance, to prevent undisclosed p-hacking), open data (making the data underlying one’s paper publicly available for inspection and future reuse), and open peer review (making [anonymous] peer review reports available alongside the paper to hold journals and reviewers accountable for the quality of their assessments), among others (see image).

A hexagonal overview of open science practices, including open data, open source software, open methodology, open peer review, open access, and open educational resources.
A very distilled overview of open science aspects.

Together, open research practices help research live up to the level of trustworthiness it purports to have. In other words, there really is no such thing as “open research”—there’s just research and closed research.

What do I do to support open research?

Here are some activities I’ve been involved in as part of my ongoing efforts to advance open research:

I hope this list will continue to grow, and welcome any opportunities to continue my development!