Open Research Policy
Dr Nina Attridge, Dr Camilla Gilmore, Professor Matthew Inglis and Dr Iro Xenidou-Dervou
Mathematics Education Centre
In 2017, the Mathematics Education Centre’s Mathematical Cognition Group (MCG) became one of the first labs in its field to explicitly adopt an Open Science Policy.
There have been growing concerns over the past decade that many published scientific findings – particularly in the psychological sciences – are questionable. In one analysis, of 100 studies published in leading psychology journals, only 36% could be successfully replicated (Nosek et al, 2015).
Adopting its Open Science Policy, marked a significant change in the MCG’s research culture and practice.
Educating colleagues and embedding the Policy took a number of forms – spanning workshops, seminars and reading-discussion groups alongside novel training, including Erasmus University’s Dilemma Game: Professionalism and Integrity in Research. Training in open research practices is now embedded in the MCG’s new research colleagues’ induction programme.
The Policy ensures that MCG researchers
- preregister – normally via aspredicted.org – all statistical analyses involving null hypothesis significance testing, avoiding the pitfall of HARKing
- allow others to interrogate or replicate their work by sharing all stimuli, analysis code and anonymised data – usually via figshare.com
These innovations have been highly successful. Since 2017, all of the Group’s research has been preregistered and shared openly – including at least eight PhD theses.
In 2019, Research England (Expanding Excellence in England Fund) awarded MEC £6.6 million to establish the Centre for Mathematical Cognition.
One of this funding stream’s criteria focused on research integrity and open research. MEC’s laudable culture of transparency undoubtedly played a substantial role in the successful application.