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Policy and Culture Change at COS: A Strategic Overview

Grassroots efforts to create change in the scientific community



The Society for the Improvement of Psychological Science is a grassroots organization created to foster a community of practice around methodological reforms and improvements.



The Community of Open Science Grassroots Networks collects dozens of researcher-led communities that share experience and advocate for institutional change.


COS Ambassadors

The COS Ambassadors community is dedicated to disseminating knowledge and providing training in transparency and rigor in scientific practice.

Improving the Process of Science Through Institutional and Policy Change

Creating Change in the Published Literature

The Center for Open Science is working to create a culture in which transparent, unbiased, and reproducible methods are part of the normal practice of scientific work. Realizing this vision will result in a scientific culture that more closely aligns with scientific ideals. To achieve this vision, our community must implement incentives for open science practices in publishing, funding, and hiring. 

A roadmap of these practices are provided in the Transparency and Openness Promotion (TOP) Guidelines and include making available:

  • Data underlying reported results

  • Research materials used to conduct a study

  • Analytical code or techniques used for data analysis

  • Comprehensive and transparent reporting of study protocols

  • Providing citation credit for non-traditional research outputs such as datasets

  • Preregistration of study designs and their analysis plans

  • Replications of previously published findings

TOP has three specific options for each standard to flexibly meet the needs of different communities:

  1. Disclosure of whether or not a practice such as data sharing or preregistration occurred

  2. Requirement for the transparent practice

  3. Verification that the practice was done completely

TOP can be used by journalspublishers, or funders of scientific research. TOP Factor evaluates journal policies on the degree to which they adhere to practices included in TOP.


Open Science Badges

Let's recognize researchers who make aspects of their work available when these efforts would otherwise be unrecognized. Badges provide a powerful signal to peers that these practices are happening and norms of scientific practice are changing.

Registered Reports: An Antidote for Bias in Research

  • Registered Reports is a publishing format in which peer review is divided into two stages: before data are collected and after the study has been completed.
  • It emphasizes the importance of the research question and the plan to interrogate it.
  • The format grants researchers peace of mind with an "in-principle acceptance" of the forthcoming article if the first stage of peer review is passed.
  • It helps to de-emphasize the desire to search for novelty and significance in the data.

Area of Focus

The Center for Open Science is working to proactively focus on supporting the rapid growth of open science practices in the psychological sciences, use existing policies in education to encourage more adoption of practice, and spur action in the pre-clinical biomedical sciences. These areas of proactive outreach complement areas where we remain committed to providing support as we identify new opportunities in ecology and evolution, criminology, business research, nutrition and exercise science, and political science.

Achieving success in the above areas will be made possible by our efforts with discipline-specific societies and also with cross-disciplinary stakeholders in academic publishing and funding. We will remain open to supporting improvements in institutional policies as we identify those opportunities.

Please contact David Mellor, Director of Policy (david AT, for questions or comments on any of the above initiatives.