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Does Open Access Catalyze Research Reproducibility and Transparency?

 [Approximate Reading Time : 4 mins]

Researchers in any given field strive to publish their work in a good journal or book. But the ultimate purpose of research publication is to present proven advances or insights to the community. Research articles should have sufficient information for two main reasons: first, to ensure that the research and its methodology and findings are valid and authentic; second, to make it useful for further research.

What Are Reproducibility, Replicability, and Transparency in Research?

Reproducibility is the ability to redo research using the same materials, tools, and procedures to obtain the same results. Replicability is the ability to yield the same relations with different sets of data but with the same materials, tools, and procedures of prior work. Transparency is how open the authors of a research paper are in sharing the data and tools that helped them arrive at the results.

Challenges in Insufficient or Nontransparent Research

Many journals have limits for the length of the article that is submitted for publishing. Incentives to reproduce and support prior work are already low, and this further restricts the authors from sharing additional information that is significant or relevant to the research work. Without sufficient data and transparency in research, reproducing similar results requires much more time and effort. It can discourage people from using the work due to time and funding restraints. When results cannot be reproduced, the whole point of the research finding is insignificant.

Role of Supporting Information

Only research work with sound supporting information can be reliable amid plenty of articles that have been rushed for the sake of publishing. Although repositories and archives are available, supporting information (SI) makes data easily and immediately available for a long period. It includes files, links, descriptions, protocols, and more that were indispensable for that research. SI also allows peer reviewers to check the work thoroughly and avoid publishing papers with incorrect methods, misinterpreted results, and factors that were conveniently ignored.

How Does OA Publishing Catalyze This Need?

Open access (OA) publishing provides the platform to publish any research data, instructions, processing tools, and software to have a better chance of reproducibility. Openness promotes further research based on prior work since anybody can access it immediately. It need not only be positive findings but also the negative outcomes that others can avoid. Instant accessibility also prevents unintended repetition of work, thus significantly saving time and money. The advantages of OA publishing and research reproducibility and transparency are positively correlated. The more transparent and reproducible your work is, the more benefits OA can offer. OA can only amplify the number of views. But, whether your work is fit to be built upon is truly decided by the amount of information you share.

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Sources:
1. https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.jpcb.7b11664
2. https://www.enago.com/academy/the-importance-of-scientific-transparency-and-reproducibility/
3. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/smj.3015
4. https://datamanagement.hms.harvard.edu/access/reproducibility

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