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250K OSF users: celebrating a global open science community

September 3rd, 2020,
Posted in: OSF

The research culture is shifting toward open science. Today we celebrate a milestone close to home: 250,000 registered users for OSF.

The value proposition for open science is widely appreciated. Increasing transparency improves the ability to evaluate the credibility of research findings, and makes those findings accessible to all. Increasing sharing improves the ability to reuse, reassess, and remix data, materials, or code for challenging, replicating, or extending findings. Increasing preregistration increases discoverability of all studies and outcomes regardless of whether they produced positive or negative results, and increases the diagnosticity of statistical inferences by clearly distinguishing planned and unplanned analyses. Together, open science can accelerate discovery of knowledge, solutions, and cures.

OSF is the open-source collaborative management service we maintain to support these open science behaviors. OSF started as Jeff Spies’s dissertation project at the University of Virginia and was released for public use in November of 2012. It took over 1,700 days to reach 50,000 users, 315 more days to reach 100,000, 299 more to reach 150,000, 279 more to reach 200,000, and today, 201 days later, 250,000. We are also very pleased that those 250,000 researchers that are conducting and sharing their research via OSF are producing content that is being consumed by more than 2,500,000 visitors that view, download, and use it.

OSF is just one of many services that support open science, and many of them are enjoying similar accelerating growth. The primary driver of growth is the research community itself. Grassroots activists and networks are promoting the value of open science, providing training to researchers about how to do it well, and advocating for changes in the reward systems that shape the research culture. Their efforts are working.

We are grateful for all of the supporters that have helped the Center for Open Science advance its mission to increase openness, integrity, and reproducibility of research including funders that have supported OSF’s development such as the Laura and John Arnold Foundation (now Arnold Ventures), the Templeton Foundations, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. We are also grateful for the many stakeholder partners among funders, publishers, institutions, and societies that have been progressive leaders in changing incentives and policies to promote open practices. And, we are grateful for the many researchers and advocates, such as the COS Ambassador community, that are changing hearts, minds, and behavior via their advocacy and support networks.  

Changing a culture is hard. It is only through the collective and coordinated action of the diverse community of stakeholders that we can fundamentally change the dysfunctional elements of the reward systems and replace them with values-aligned incentives that can accelerate progress. Thank you for your contribution to improving the research culture.


OSF is free to use, but it’s not free to build or maintain. If you have benefitted from OSF, consider making a donation. Your gift will allow us to continue improving OSF, expanding features, and creating new services to positively impact the scientific community.

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