Professor, graduate student unveil Center for Open Science
Project aims to facilitate rigorous peer review, shared knowledge
The Center for Open Science, a nonprofit organization that aims to increasing transparency in scientific research, made its grand opening Tuesday in Charlottesville.
Assoc. Psychology Prof. Brian Nosek, founded the center along with Graduate Arts & Sciences student Jeffrey Spies to provide a means for peer review in the research process.
“Openness creates efficiency benefits in our day-to-day work [as researchers,]” Spies said. “[Additionally] we do want to work toward this idea of public knowledge and the accumulation of public knowledge.”
The center will develop an Open Science Framework — a website that Spies developed as part of his dissertation and allows researchers to post information about their data collection processes. Researchers will then be encouraged to examine their peers’ data for procedural flaws or attempt to replicate the data using the original researchers’ prescribed methods.
Not only will the website allow researchers to learn about experimental methods that do not work, it may also help deter researchers from allowing their hypotheses to influence their analysis of the data, said Psychology Prof. Barbara Spellman, an editor of Perspectives on Psychological Science magazine.
“[People can see] what they want to see in their evidence,” Spellman said. “Unintentional errors can creep in in all sorts of different ways.”
The ultimate responsibility of the center, Nosek said, is to uphold scientific ethics.
“The primary goal is to align scientific practices with scientific values,” Nosek said. “There are a few things that science is supposed to do and tries to do very well, and that is: be open with the methods used to get evidence about a claim, and to be open about what it is that one has claimed and how to test it further.”