A Year of Open Science

November 16th, 2020,

"Show me" not "trust me": Science doesn't ask for trust, it earns trust with transparency.

The credibility of science has center stage in 2020. A raging pandemic. Partisan interests. Economic and health consequences. Misinformation everywhere. An amplified desire for certainty on what will happen and how to address it.

In this climate, all public health and economic research will be politicized. All findings are understood through a political lens. When the findings are against partisan interests, the scientists are accused of reporting the outcomes they want and avoiding the ones they don’t. When the findings are aligned with partisan interests, they are accepted immediately and uncertainty ignored.

Politicization can seem like a black hole inexorably sucking in the scientific community and making the science just another source of information—its credibility based on agreement with one’s pre-existing ideology.

All is not lost. Science has a protective force against the forces of politicization, transparency. 

Transparency is a fundamental differentiator for establishing credibility of scientific claims. Transparency means that for a scientific claim, anyone could examine the methodology used, data generated, and process of drawing conclusions to verify or challenge the claim. Peddlers of misinformation offer no such opportunity. Their credibility hinges on superficial cues and reinforcing existing beliefs.

Science is trustworthy because it does not trust itself. Transparency is a replacement for trust. Transparency fosters self-correction when there are errors and increases confidence when there are not.

Transparency is critical for maintaining science’s credibility and earning public trust. The events of 2020 make clear the urgency and potential consequences of losing that credibility and trust.

I invite you to view the Center for Open Science 2020 Impact Report to learn how the open science community came together this year to maximize the impact of research. The Center for Open Science is profoundly grateful for all of the collaborators, partners, and supporters who have helped advance its mission to increase openness, integrity, and reproducibility of research.

Despite the practical, economic, and health challenges, 2020 was a remarkable year for open science. This impact report provides some highlights and sets the stage for an even better 2021.

Thank you for your support of rigor and transparency to enhance credibility and accelerate discovery of knowledge, solutions, and cures.


Brian Nosek
Executive Director and Co-founder
Center for Open Science


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