Now Is the Time to Assess the Effects of Open Science Practices With Randomized Control Trials

Jerry Suls, Alexander J. Rothman, Karina W. Davidson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


We issue a call for the design and conduct of experimental trials to test the effects of researchers' adoption of Open Science (OS) research practices. OS emerged to address lapses in the transparency, quality, integrity, and reproducibility of research by proposing that investigators institute practices, such as preregistering study hypotheses, procedures, and statistical analyses, before launching their research. These practices have been greeted with enthusiasm by some parts of the scientific community, but empirical evidence of their effects relies mainly on observational studies; furthermore, questions remain about the time and effort required by these practices and their ultimate benefit to science. To assess the outcomes of OS research practices, we propose they be viewed as behavioral interventions for scientists and tested in randomized controlled trials (RCTs), to identify potential benefits and (unintended) harms. As this is a call to action rather than an action plan per se, we sketch out four potential trial designs to encourage further deliberation and planning. Experimental tests to document the outcomes of OS practices can provide evidence to optimize how scientists, funders, policymakers, and institutions utilize these strategies to advance scientific practice. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)467-475
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Psychologist
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 22 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This article does not involve original empirical research and exempt from Institutional Review Board approval. No conflicts of interest to disclose. Work was supported by the National Institute on Aging (R24AG064191) and the National Library of Medicine (R01LM012836) of the National Institutes of Health.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 American Psychological Association


  • Open science
  • Open science framework (osf)
  • Randomized controlled trial (rct)


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