Technician working in laboratory


The open research movement emerged in response to concerns about the validity of published scientific results.

In 2005 the paper Why Most Published Research Findings Are False was published, claiming that study bias and insufficiently robust methodologies had led to a scientific literature that would largely not reproduce. While replication of results is key to the scientific method, replication studies are not frequently published.

These concerns have been investigated in large scale attempts to independently replicate results which have taken place across a variety of disciplines. Most prominently the Reproducibility Project: Psychology, led by the Centre for Open Science only produced successful replications for 39 in their original selection of 100 studies publishing in prominent psychology journals in 2008. Widespread failed replications have led to a growing consensus of the need for the open research movement to promote robust reproducible science.

Improve scientific reproducibility

The focus of the open research movement is to develop interventions which will improve scientific reproducibility. While the occurrence of Type I error (i.e. false positives caused by statistical anomalies) is expected, there are more false positive results within the scientific literature than would be expected. This is caused by systemic pressures to produce positive results, motivating the use of Questionable Research Practices.

Through its focus on research transparency open research makes two key contributions towards reproducibility. Firstly, the transparent reporting of experimental methods and research data facilitates replication studies. Transparency also allows more effective third party evaluation of research.

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