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Welcome to Why Not Open Science?


Join the conversation on our etherpad!

The Why Not Open Science? project aims to develop a survey to help find out about researchers' attitudes towards open science and learn about the barriers preventing them from carrying it out. Our goal is to distribute the survey to researchers all around the globe and then use the results to inform current open science training materials and institutional policies.

What is Open Science?

Open is the way science should be! Just think about it: If you are a scientist you should care about generating knowledge that can contribute to the common goal of advancing our understanding of the world. Being open and transparent about your experimental methods, your data, and your results makes your work more likely to be shared, useful, and, most importantly, reproducible!

If you are not a scientist you should know that most research is funded through taxpayer money and private donations. Anyone, including you, should be able to read about the most recent scientific discoveries and benefit from it without paying impossible fees or having to spend hours trying to dig out of the web some shared piece of data that might not even exist.

There is not a unique and static definition of Open Science – and arguably there shouldn't be – as Open Science is an evolving and inclusive movement. In our survey we will not cover all aspects of Open Science, but we will try to focus on open access, open data and open source as means to making scientific output transparent and reproducible, and foster collaboration between scientists. We think these, at least at the moment, are the most relevant issues to academics. If you disagree with this statement or think we should be more inclusive with our definition and therefore our survey, please let us know.

For the purpose of the survey we embrace the definition of Open Science provided by Foster:
“Open Science is the practice of science in such a way that others can collaborate and contribute, where research data, lab notes and other research processes are freely available, under terms that enable reuse, redistribution and reproduction of the research and its underlying data and methods.”

Please check our Links folder for additional links/material to learn more about Open Science and what it encompasses, and feel free to add your own resources.

So, what's the problem?

Despite the growing evidence that open science practices benefit discovery and individual careers (McKiernan et al., 2016), many academics hesitate to incorporate open science in their research routines. Why? Is it the fear of being “scooped”? Is it the lack of peer pressure and institutional rewards? Or, is it a lack of time and knowledge about open science practices?

Survey data collected between 2015-2016 as part of the Innovation in Scholarly Communication project revealed that 80.9% of the surveyed researchers support the goals of open science, and 85.9% support the goals of open access movements. Given these results and based on our experience as researchers and open science advocates, we believe that barriers are mostly cultural (lack of peer-pressure) as well as technical (lack of time and knowledge about open science tools).

Got it! What can we do about it?

  • Listen: We believe that scientific inquiry should avoid erroneous preconceptions or assumptions about a problem. Therefore our first step will be to develop a survey to explore in depth the underlying reasons for failure to adopt open science practices in academia.

    The survey will seek to:

    • Understand researchers’ knowledge of and engagement with open science practices;
    • Learn about obstacles that prevent them from engaging in open science practices;
    • Ask what would incentivize them to adopt open science practices.
  • Develop: Based on the results of the survey, and existing educational materials, we seek to develop comprehensive workshops to educate academics on the benefits of engaging with open science practices and to overcome obstacles they face.

  • Educate and advocate: With the development of the materials, we will run workshops on engagement with open science practices and make the workshop materials publicly available, so they can be used by anyone with an interest in open science.

Want to contribute?

Go to our file to find out how!

The pilot survey

Here is the link to our pilot survey. Before you jump on it though, please read our contributing guidelines and code of conduct. The contributing will go into details on how to go about filling in the survey - first raise an issue, then fill out the pilot survey and feedback sections, and then comment on your issue to provide any additional feedback. Thank you!

Who are we, anyway?

About Daniela: I am a Ph.D. candidate in the Neuroscience Graduate Program at the Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU). I am passionate about research and making science output available to everyone to advance knowledge and improve transparency.

GitHub: dasaderi
Twitter: @Neurosarda

About Amie: I am a Ph.D. candidate at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, based in Nijmegen, The Netherlands. I'm the Open Access Ambassador for my institute, and working on my own personal mission to advocate for open science in its entirety.

GitHub: amiefairs
Twitter: @amiefairs

Want to contact us? Tweet us or email