Transparent, Open, and Reproducible Policy Research

Professor: Grant
Units: 0.5
Elective Course
Concentration: Social and Behavioral Science

The research transparency and open science movement is gaining traction in several disciplines pertinent to policy analysis, such as medicine, economics, education, political science, and psychology. Particularly when evaluating an intervention, researchers are increasingly expected to pre-register their studies and analysis plans; share research materials, code, and data; and publish outputs via open access. Among other reasons, these practices are intended to improve the replicability and credibility of empirical research. As with any policy change, some proposed practices are more effective in achieving their end goal than others, and all come with tradeoffs in terms of time and resources.

This course aims to teach students the essential theories and methods of transparent, open, and reproducible research. After introductory sessions on the research transparency and open science movement, enrolled students will discuss and learn the essentials of the open science toolkit, namely: pre-registration of study methods and analysis plans; reproducible workflows; open research materials, code, data, and access; reporting guidelines for preparing research manuscripts; and replication. Each session will also involve explicit discussion of the implementation of these open science practices, how implementing these new practices impact the various stakeholders in the scientific ecosystem, and the potential unintended consequences of these practices.