Guest Talk: Tal Yarkoni | University of Texas, Austin

Title: How to survive and thrive as an open scientist

Abstract: In principle, science is a cumulative, community-driven enterprise. To make new discoveries, researchers build directly on the products of other researchers’ efforts, and in turn, reciprocally share their own findings with the world. In practice, of course, things rarely proceed quite so idealistically. Researchers regularly hide their latest findings from one another as they compete for publication in rarified journals; data and protocols are hoarded to maintain competitive advantage; and “Questionable Research Practices” such as optional stopping and selective reporting are engaged in with alarming frequency, often under the justification that there is no other way for a modern scientist to succeed. In this talk I take issue with this philosophy, and argue that it is indeed possible for an open scientist to both survive and thrive in the modern environment. I review a series of open practices that can help advance one’s career while simultaneously maximizing the reproducibility, reliability, and accessibility of one’s scientific work. These include preprint deposition, open-access publication, preregistration, version control, and social media use, among others. I dispel a number of myths about these practices, and review empirical evidence suggesting that they are, if anything, beneficial to one’s reputation. I conclude by suggesting that early-career scientists are no longer faced with a hard choice between good science and good politics, and encouraging researchers to actively contribute to the rapid ongoing shift in structural incentives and cultural expectations.