Olavo Amaral is a professor in the Instituto de Bioquímica Médica Leopoldo de Meis in the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro since 2009. He’s a physician and has a PhD in Biochemistry, and he used to research the neurobiology of memory, until he realized that studying science itself to make it more reproducible was more important than anything else he could do in the lab. From then on, he reinvented himself as an activist in the area of reproducibility and open science and became an ambassador for ASAPbio, an organization dedicated to promote transparency and innovation in scientific communication. He also writes fiction, tries his luck at journalism and is currently working on a book about the relationship between science and market in the definition of the frontier between health and disease.
The idea of open science assumes that knowledge is a common good that must be shared. That said, several peculiarities of the academic environment impose obstacles to access and reliability of what is published, such as an incentive system based on publication and the lack of independent replications. Although systemic changes at the level of funders, institutions and journals are necessary to change this scenario, a good part of the path to a more open science passes through researchers themselves, and it can provide more rewards than sacrifices. In this lecture, we will cover some simple steps towards a more accessible, transparent and reproducible science, based on the experience of different areas of research in this regard.
Brian Nosek is co-Founder and Executive Director of the Center for Open Science, which seeks to enable open and reproducible research practices through its Open Science Framework. Nosek is also a Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Virginia. He received his Ph.D. from Yale University in 2002.
He co-founded Project Implicit, a multi-university collaboration for research and education investigating implicit cognition—thoughts and feelings that occur outside of awareness or control. Brian investigates the gap between values and practices, such as when behavior is influenced by factors other than one’s intentions and goals. Research applications of this interest include implicit bias, decision-making, attitudes, ideology, morality, innovation, and barriers to change. Nosek applies this interest to improve the alignment between personal and organizational values and practices. In 2015, he was named one of Nature’s 10 and was included in the Chronicle for Higher Education Influence list.
Culture change toward more open, rigorous, and reproducible research
Summary » Brian Nosek
Improving openness, rigor, and reproducibility in research is less a technical challenge and more a social challenge. Current practice is sustained by dysfunctional incentives that prioritizes publication over accuracy and privacy over transparency. The consequence is unnecessary inefficiency in research progress. Successful culture change requires coordinated policy, incentive, and normative changes across stakeholders to improve research credibility and accelerate progress. Some stakeholder groups and disciplines are making more progress than others. We can change the system, but if we do not act collectively we will fail. Let’s not fail.