TOP Factor at 2,000 Journals: A Growing Resource for the Scientific Community

December 19th, 2022,
Screenshot of TOP Factor homepage with text TOP Factor at 2,000 Journals

Launched in January 2020, TOP Factor has grown to include evaluations of over 2,000 journal policies. TOP Factor evaluates journal policies for their alignment with the standards described in the Transparency and Openness Promotion Guidelines. This resource includes an openly available dataset that has been a resource for editors making policy changes and for researchers studying the implementation of better policies.  More importantly, TOP Factor will provide the growing, international community calling for research assessment reform a better tool than traditional metrics of impact.

TOP Graph DropAnd we anticipate the use of TOP Factor to grow. Some new features of the web interface allow for sorting by discipline and practice. For example, dozens of journals in Cell and Microbiology show tremendous adoption of a few key practices, but a closer look showcases how open data remains a key challenge in that discipline. Advocates within disciplines can use the information provided, show examples of where better policies have been adopted, and push for such improvements across their field.

Similarly, there are several standouts in the field of Epidemiology and Public Health, but few are taking even minimal steps toward providing transparency into the research process by looking for preregistered research protocols. 

How it's being used
TOP Factor is already a valuable resource for original scholarship. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the scientific community understood how open science practices are a necessity, not a fad. This has resulted in some, but not enough, improvement in policies across dozens of scientific journals. Thousands of others are adopting such policies at slow, but incremental paces. 

Likewise, there continues to be a growing, international call for reforming the way we assess research culture. TOP Factor is a valuable resource for diversifying the way in which we view this ecosystem. Its open data can be used by advocates, researchers, and those who assess research output. 

And we want TOP Factor to be used even more by everyone! Some new features of the web interface allow for sorting by discipline and practice.

How to use TOP Factor
With this resource, you can Advocate, Research, and Assess open science policies of interest to you: 

Advocate with TOP Factor by collecting a suite of journals and encouraging policymakers at publishers and editorial boards. Share collections of rated journals and encourage adoption of better policies for better science.

Research with TOP Factor by looking into ways that good policies affect scientific output. Does more consistent use of data availability disclosure (i.e. “Level 1”) lead to more available data? Does verifying adherence to preregistered plans improve transparency into the research process? These are empirical questions that we want to help the community answer.

Assess journal policies yourself by identifying key journals and submitting scores to us. 

With these tools, and with your help, reforming research culture can happen by focusing on our shared, core values of transparency, rigor, and collaboration.

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