How different areas in psychology implement Open Science

By Sandra Geiger

To celebrate our first SIOS semester and the end of the academic year, we organized a panel discussion on June 20th, 2019. In this panel discussion, we discussed how various psychological fields implement Open Science. We invited four guest speakers from various departments at the University of Amsterdam: Angelika Stefan (PhD student, Psychological Methods), Sascha Duken (PhD student, Clinical Psychology), Suzanne Hoogeveen (PhD student, Social Psychology), and Adam Finneman (Research master’s student and head of the Methodology Shop).

During this event, Angelika, Sascha, Suzanne, and Adam offered us a unique insight and let us take in a little Open Science air from their departments. We were excited to hear that researchers in all departments are getting involved and enthusiastic about Open Science. As strong believers of Open Science, our speakers see its most crucial benefit in helping researchers and students to thoroughly think about their research question and design before conducting studies. However, they also acknowledged that getting involved in Open Science can be intimidating at the beginning; not only for researchers but also for students. One major challenge they currently see is developing an encouraging and patient environment – a community of learners – in which researchers and students alike should not fear making mistakes but are rewarded for trying to adopt Open Science.

Among students, Open Science practices are yet less widely spread. At our Psychology department at the University of Amsterdam, it is already common practice that students write a research proposal or the introduction and methods section prior to collecting data. However, students could still pay more attention to pre-specifying their analysis plans. Although such pre-specifications may slow down the research process at the beginning, they simplify the analysis at a later point and help students planning their project as well as keeping its scope realistic. To overcome the time challenge that sometimes hinders implementing Open Science practices in student projects, the Methodology Shop is currently developing a shorter pre-registration form for students. To further improve science, our speakers propose that not students not only pre-register their project, but also learn how to store their data in a way that others can understand them and reproduce the results. 

Our take home message from this event is that implementing Open Science can profit researchers and students alike. Although not extremely prominent among students, we believe that it is important to already get engaged in Open Science as a student, as we are the future researchers helping Open Science to break through in psychology.