Open Science

A brief introduction to open science

(The paragraphs in this particular section have been borrowed from Willén, 2018.)

Openness and transparency are today well-used concepts and have spread from and across several areas, most notably software, education, government, and science. […] The openness movements arose from a bold initiative in 1983 by physicist and computer scientist Richard Stallman, at the time with the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.  […] This was the birth of free (libre) software; a movement that in 1998 took two different paths when the new term open source software was launched.

The movement for open science started as a movement for allowing public access to scholarly publications, and the Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI) coined the term open access in 2002. In parallel with the rise of the open access movement, the movement for open education rose. At a conference in 2002, UNESCO coined the term open educational resources (OER). The focus was on creation and distribution of gratis educational literature and materials, in particular to support education in developing countries.

The freedom and openness movements are both relatively young movements born as a direct response to the launch of the World Wide Web and the increasing number of possibilities internet offered. In contrast, a seemingly different topic had been discussed among mathematicians and statisticians for at least one and a half century: questionable research practices among empirical scientists (e.g. Babbage, 1830). This topic was merged with the open science movement during the beginning of the 2010’s, when it was proposed that empirical scientists could make use of internet to share their data and materials online (e.g., Nosek, Spies, & Motyl, 2012; Wagenmakers, Wetzels, Borsboom, & Van Der Maas, 2011; Wicherts, Bakker, & Molenaar, 2011), as well as making preregistration a standard practice beyond clinical trials (e.g. Wagenmakers, Wetzels, Borsboom, Van der Maas, & Kievit, 2012). These open practices were suggested to be solutions to the widespread use of questionable research practices.

Thus, the movement many psychologists today call ‘open science’ is not always the same movement referred to by others using the same term, but rather a specific sub-movement originating from two very different backgrounds.

What do we mean with ‘open science’?

At this conference, the term ‘open science’ is used in the same way it is typically used by psychologists after 2011-2012. That is, we focus on open scientific practices as a solution to the widespread use of questionable research practices.

How to stay updated on open science?

The best way – unfortunately, as some would say – is through Twitter. The open science and metascience community, especially in psychology, has a very strong presence on Twitter. It is here we hear about the latest metascience study, the podcasts, the debates, the latest coverage in Nature, Science, Undark, Guardian and other magazines and journals in the open science frontline. Without Twitter, or without close colleagues keeping you continuously updated on what is happening on “Science Twitter”, it is in fact extremely difficult to keep up.

How to get started?

Here are some core open science psychologists you might want to follow on Twitter: Chris ChambersDaniël LakensSteve LindsayBrian Nosek, Julia Rohrer, Anne Scheel, Barbara Spellman, Simine VazireEJ Wagenmakers, Jelte Wicherts – just to get you started.

Podcasts by open science psychologists for psychologists: Everything Hertz (Episode 57 discusses Psychology & Law); ReproducibiliTeaPod; The Black Goat; Two Psychologists, Four Beers.

All three members of the organising committee are on Twitter: Jennifer Beaudry, Jan Antfolk, Rebecca Willén.

Our sponsor, SIPS, and host, IGDORE, are on Twitter.

And of course, our own conference!


Babbage, C. (1830). Reflections on the Decline of Science in England and on Some of Its Causes. London; B. Fellowes.

Nosek, B. A., Spies, J. R., & Motyl, M. (2012). Scientific utopia: II. Restructuring incentives and practices to promote truth over publishability. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 7, 615-631.

Wagenmakers, E. J., Wetzels, R., Borsboom, D., & Van Der Maas, H. L. (2011). Why psychologists must change the way they analyze their data: the case of psi: comment on Bem (2011). Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 100, 426–432.

Wagenmakers, E. J., Wetzels, R., Borsboom, D., Van der Maas, H. L., & Kievit, R. A. (2012). An agenda for purely confirmatory research. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 7, 632-638.

Wicherts, J. M., Bakker, M., Molenaar, D. (2011). Willingness to Share Research Data Is Related to the Strength of the Evidence and the Quality of Reporting of Statistical Results. PLoS ONE 6(11): e26828. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0026828

Willén, R. M. (2018). The Future of Science is Freedom. Manuscript under production.