How Are We Doing? Data Access and Replication in Political Science

PSC 492 Cover_PosterHow Are We Doing? Data Access and Replication in Political Science

Ellen M. Key, Appalachian State University

Data access and research transparency (DA-RT) is a growing concern for the discipline.  Technological advances have greatly reduced the cost of sharing data, enabling full replication archives consisting of data and code to be shared on individual websites as well as journal archives and institutional data repositories. But how do we ensure scholars take advantage of these resources to share their replication archives?  Moreover, are the costs of research transparency borne by individuals or journals? Articles published in journals with mandatory provision policies are twenty-four times more likely to have replication materials available than articles in journals with no requirements.  Although these replication policies are effective at increasing compliance, shifting the burden of research transparency to journals is costly.   While verification of the analyses presented in the article prior to publication is the gold standard, it is unreasonable—and likely unnecessary—for all journals to implement such rigorous policies.   Rather than verifying analyses prior to publication, journals should require specific replication materials be uploaded to the journal’s dataverse and cited in the article’s references, allowing interested scholars to use the data and code themselves and relieves journals from duplicating results while still requiring materials be made publicly available.

[Read more]

PS: Political Science & Politics / Volume 49 / Issue 02 / April 2016, pp 268-272 / Copyright © American Political Science Association 2016