PeerJ signatory of new guidelines to improve research and publishing practices

Transparency and reproducibility should be the cornerstones of how science creates knowledge.  Openly sharing evidence for scientific claims, where it is possible to do so, ensures others can evaluate, question, replicate, or extend scientific studies.  When evidence cannot be reproduced independently it is often harder for it to be accepted as credible evidence.  However it is only by embracing transparency that the credibility of published results can be achieved, which in turn ensures the efficient and effective use of funding to support scientific advancement.

PeerJ is expressing its commitment to the principles of transparency in scientific research by becoming a signatory of the Transparency and Openness Promotion (TOP) Committee Guidelines, a set of author guidelines that journals can adopt to enhance the transparency of  the research they publish.  Published on June 25th these guidelines represent a concrete and actionable strategy toward improving research and publishing practices. Already,  111 journals and 34 organizations, including PeerJ, have expressed support for the principles of transparency and openness and have pledged to consider adopting them within the next year. PeerJ joins a broad coalition across scientific disciplines including societies such as the American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Geophysical Union, American Society for Cell Biology, American Meteorological Society, and the Association for Psychological Science.

The TOP guidelines are modular in nature, encompassing 8 standards with 3 levels of increasing commitment to transparency for each. The modularity allows for journals to select the standards and levels that are practical and appropriate to their discipline. TOP is first and foremost a transparency initiative that promotes disclosure of data, code, and procedures. By allowing others in the scientific community to retrace the steps that produced a research finding, transparency reduces cost, enables researchers to leverage many datasets to establish greater precision in estimating effects, ultimately accelerating the pace scientific discovery.



The guidelines are the output of a November 2014 meeting at the Center for Open Science (COS), co-hosted with the Berkeley Initiative for Transparency in the Social Sciences (BITSS), and Science Magazine, and was funded by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation.  The TOP committee is a diverse group of 39 journal editors, society leaders, funders, and other stakeholders in the behavioral and social sciences.

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