Project uses peer pressure to encourage open research

open-researchRegular readers of this blog will appreciate my support for open access to scientific research, with projects such as the PLOS meta research repository highlighting the best research about research to encourage better science to be conducted.

In the UK, a consortium of universities based in Yorkshire have launched the White Rose University Press, which will publish peer-reviewed academic papers, textbooks and conference literature from both the UK and abroad.

The venture has three core goals:

  1. The support of open access publishing
  2. Ensuring high levels of academic quality
  3. The creation of new opportunities for publishing

The openness initiative

The project is very much in the zeitgeist, with a second, called the Peer Reviewers’ Openness Initiative, which aims to encourage the sharing of data through the collective action of peer reviewers.

Under the scheme, academics are encouraged to only peer review papers from authors who have openly shared their content, or at least provided a very good reason for not doing so.


“It can feel like a burden at first, but there are many online tools to help with open science. Once I became familiar with these practices, these skills are simple to implement as a usual part of my analysis pipeline,” the team say.

“I’m excited to get on board with this open science movement as much as possible early in my career. My most recently submitted paper will be fully accessible, including all related raw data, analysis scripts and paradigm code open source, so my results are reproducible.” they continue.

Collective action

The team believe that the key to changing research behavior is to mobilize the collective endeavors of reviewers.  They suggest that openness should become a central part of the analysis done when researchers peer reviewer the work of their colleagues.

Researchers are encouraged to sign up to the website, with several hundred already having pledged their name to the initiative.  It will be interesting to follow the project and see what kind of impact it has on the propensity to publish transparently and openly.



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