Transparent and Reproducible Social Science Research: A new open science textbook

It’s been nearly 15 years since John Ioannidis’s “Why Most Published Research Findings are False” was published, turning the scientific community on its head. Today you might think little had changed. Just type “science is broken” into your online search engine, and you’ll find dozens of recent articles, blog posts, videos, and tweets by frustrated scientists lamenting false positives, publication bias, failed replications,… the list goes on. Dig deeper, though, and you’ll also find a vibrant community of scholars creating resources for practicing and teaching more open, reproducible, rigorous, and ethical science (meet our BITSS Catalysts here). Many of these new activities, though, are still diffuse and not standardized, and this can make it difficult to see how they all fit together.

That’s why we’re thrilled to announce the publication today of a new resource to add to this growing library. Transparent and Reproducible Social Science Research: How to do open science, written by Garret Christensen, Jeremy Freese, and BITSS Director Ted Miguel, is the first textbook to offer a comprehensive introduction to open science tools and methods. We think it is a milestone in the movement for research transparency. The authors lay out both the threats to scientific credibility, as well as real-world actions researchers can take to combat them. It will be a useful teaching resource for social science courses at both the graduate and advanced undergraduate levels, as well as a roadmap for researchers (both novice and experienced) unsure of where to start. You can read the first chapter here, outlining the authors’ impetus for writing the book. If you want to read more, you can purchase the book online at the UC Press website.

One thing you’ll notice is that the book is not free, an irony lost on neither us nor the authors. Garret, Jeremy, and Ted, like BITSS, are passionate about Open Access as an important value in the open science movement. And we recognize that a textbook about open science without an open access option is not ideal. But we also recognize that revenue from book sales helps cover the operating costs of University of California (UC) Press, a not-for-profit academic publisher run by one of the largest public university systems in the world – something we can get behind.

Still, since the book isn’t free, we’re doing a few things to broaden access as much as we can:

  • First, we’re letting you know that UC Press is offering a discount that brings the paperback price down to $24.95. Use code 17M6662 at checkout to take advantage of this 30% discount. The e-book is even less expensive from certain sellers.
  • Second, we’re distributing free copies at BITSS trainings. This means all participants and instructors at our workshops and Research Transparency and Reproducibility Trainings (RT2), will receive a free copy. (We’re also still accepting applications for our upcoming RT2 in Washington DC this September!)
  • Third, we’re raising funds to distribute free copies to scholars in low and middle Income countries. BITSS and the Center for Effective Global Action have a strong commitment to promoting inclusive research and training. Access to open educational materials can mean a world of difference for students and researchers working in resource-strapped countries and institutions. Demand for open science training in LMIC countries has continued to grow, making this is our number one fundraising priority right now.
  • Fourth, we encourage you to check out the book from your library. And if they don’t have it yet, please request it! Libraries are the bedrock of academic open access and we should all utilize them as often as we can. Finally, we’re always open to other ideas about increasing access, so send ‘em our way.

As a reminder, you can find a wealth of other tools and guides on the BITSS Resource Library. And, as always, let us know if you know of a resource that should be in there.


This post was collaboratively written by BITSS.

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