Open sharing of data on close relationships and other sensitive social psychological topics: Challenges, tools, and future directions

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This article reports on an adversarial (but friendly) collaboration examining the issues that lie at the intersection of confidentiality and open-data practices. We describe the process we followed to share our data for a speed-dating article we recently published in Psychological Science (Joel, Eastwick, & Finkel, 2017) and provide a summary of the issues we considered and addressed along the way. As we drafted the present article, the third author became unsure, in retrospect, about some of the procedures we had followed, especially if our approach were to be perceived as a model for open-data decisions in other, more typical cases involving nonindependent data. This article addresses these concerns, but also identifies areas of consensus. All three authors agree that there remains an unmet need for guidelines and other resources to help researchers address the challenges of sharing data that cover sensitive topics, particularly nonindependent data collected from pairs and groups (e.g., romantic couples, work teams, therapy groups). We conclude with a discussion of new tools that could be developed to help scholars who have collected such data to increase the transparency of their research while simultaneously protecting the confidentiality of the participants.

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Type of resources: Primary Source, Reading, Paper

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

Primary user(s): Student

Subject area(s): Applied Science, Social Science

Language(s): English