Benefits of Open and High-Powered Research Outweigh Costs

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Several researchers recently outlined unacknowledged costs of open science practices, arguing these costs may outweigh benefits and stifle discovery of novel findings. We scrutinize these researchers’ (a) statistical concern that heightened stringency with respect to false-positives will increase false-negatives and (b) metascientific concern that larger samples and executing direct replications engender opportunity costs that will decrease the rate of making novel discoveries. We argue their statistical concern is unwarranted given open science proponents recommend such practices to reduce the inflated Type I error rate from .35 down to .05 and simultaneously call for high-powered research to reduce the inflated Type II error rate. Regarding their metaconcern, we demonstrate that incurring some costs is required to increase the rate (and frequency) of making true discoveries because distinguishing true from false hypotheses requires a low Type I error rate, high statistical power, and independent direct replications. We also examine pragmatic concerns raised regarding adopting open science practices for relationship science (preregistration, open materials, open data, direct replications, sample size); while acknowledging these concerns, we argue they are overstated given available solutions. We conclude benefits of open science practices outweigh costs for both individual researchers and the collective field in the long run, but that short term costs may exist for researchers because of the currently dysfunctional academic incentive structure. Our analysis implies our field’s incentive structure needs to change whereby better alignment exists between researcher’s career interests and the field’s cumulative progress. We delineate recent proposals aimed at such incentive structure realignment.

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Type of resources: Primary Source, Reading

Education level(s): College / Upper Division (Undergraduates)

Primary user(s): Student

Subject area(s): Applied Science, Social Science

Language(s): English