DART Statement Pushback and Response

Garret Christensen–BITSS Project Scientist

Hopefully you’re familiar with the DART Statement, a set of recommendations on Data Access and Research Transparency from APSA. (If you’re not, it’s basically political science journals getting together and saying authors will have to share their data in a trusted repository in order to be published.) There’s recently been some pushback against implementing the policies, primarily this petition and an associated website. DART representatives Colin Elman, Diana Kapiszewski, and Arthur (Skip) Lupia (who, full disclosure, is on our advisory board) responded the petition and related discussions from the 2015 APSA meeting here.

Additional reactions from:

The petition currently has over 1,100 signatures. Many of the concerns in the petition primarily apply to qualitative and multi-method research, about which I freely admit to knowing next to nothing, since it basically doesn’t exist in economics. It’s great that people are joining the discussion about transparency, but I myself am fairly skeptical of the skepticism. I’m sympathetic to concerns about interview subject safety, but it seems that everyone is sympathetic to this concern–that is, the DART statement already allows for safety (and other) exceptions to data sharing and leaves the details to journals. Without some sort of policy from journal and reviewers and instead relying on individual researchers to share data of their own volition, as the petition discusses, seems to me to have demonstrably not worked well so far. But it’s good to be having the discussion and hopefully eventually getting qualitative and not just quantitative political scientists behind increased transparency. I’ve added this symposium on qualitative research and transparency to my reading list as a result.