Women Are More Prominent in “Open Science” Than the Traditional “Reproducibility” Movement

A new study led by Mary Murphy, a professor of psychological and brain sciences at Indiana University, examined the two paths that scientists are following: the movement for reproducibility and the movement for open science. The movement for reproducibility calls on scientists to reproduce the results of past experiments to verify earlier results, while open science calls on scientists to share resources so that future research can build on what has been done, ask new questions and advance science.

The authors found that the two movements do more than diverge. They have very distinct cultures, with two distinct literatures produced by two groups of researchers with little crossover. Their investigation also suggests that one of the movements — open science — promotes greater equity, diversity, and inclusivity.

Professor Murpshy stated that “women publish more often in high-status authorship positions in open science, and that participation in high-status authorship positions has been increasing over time in open science, while in reproducibility women’s participation in high-status authorship positions is decreasing over time.”

Co-author Valerie Jones Taylor, an assistant professor in the department of psychology at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, added that “research practices that seek to improve the quality of scientific research and knowledge can benefit from what we have learned about the communal, collaborative, and prosocial ideals that mark the open science literature. Overall, women hold more prominent roles and participate more frequently in scientific research in the open science than the reproducibility literature. This work suggests that the prosocial norms in the open science movement encourage greater diversity and inclusion, which benefits scientific knowledge.”

The full study, “Open Science, Communal Culture, and Women’s Participation in the Movement to Improve Science,” was published on the website of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. It may be accessed here.

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