Open research

Promoting openness in science

At Taylor & Francis, we believe in making research more open. This is because adopting open research practices supports the transparency, reproducibility, and replicability of results. This in turn improves the robustness of research.

We have a number of open initiatives in place to support open research. These include our open access publishing options, data sharing policies, Transparency Openness Promotion (TOP) and open science badges .

Read on to learn more about some of these initiatives and how it can benefit your research.

Importance of openness in science

It’s hard to overstate how important this is. The process of science really depends on transparent sharing and evaluation of underlying evidence. Skepticism is a core value of the scientific community, because it’s difficult to skeptically evaluate evidence if it’s not available.

The wider world depends on the process of science for making decisions. This is why openness is important in the scientific community because it’s critical to do everything possible to be credible.

How have researchers attitudes to openness in research changed over recent years?

Researchers now recognize the extent of the credibility problems in most cutting-edge research. Survey showed that a large number of researchers (90% of scientists) agree that there is some degree of “replication crisis”.

Ways to increase replicability and transparency is an important topic amongst researchers, authors, editors, funders, and publishers. Fewer seem to dispute that these problems exist. A good number of researchers have tried, and failed, to replicate the results of previous work, often their own, this has become obvious that there is room for improvement through openness.

Vector illustration of a man holding a giant blue key facing a monitor screen that has a blue locked padlock on it and a pie chart, the background is a pale coral with 2 darker coral leaves.

Transparency and Openness Promotion (TOP) guidelines

The TOP guidelines are a set of eight standards which improve scientific reporting. They do this by increasing the clarity into underlying research data and materials. This was created to serve as a toolbox for policymakers such as journal editors, publication committees, publishers, and funders who want to implement better policies but faced barriers such as community support, conflicting standards, or simply lack of time to draft new language.

Each of the TOP standards exist to solve a particular problem identified by those who have attempted to replicate previous research findings. Such as:

  • The standards on Data, Materials, and Analytical Code Transparency speak to the items generated over the course of the study and how you should preserve or share them.

  • The standard on Design and Analysis Transparency points to discipline-specific reporting guidelines that remind authors to report key methodological details.

  • The Preregistration standards emphasize the importance of keeping two modes of research distinct.

  • Exploratory research, which seeks to make new discoveries and find unexpected trends.

  • Confirmatory research, the purpose of which is to test a specific hypothesis.

  • Finally, the Replication standard makes it clear that direct replications are an important contribution to science, even though they’re traditionally harder to publish.

Each of the TOP standards can be implemented in one of three levels of increasing rigor: disclosure, requirement, or verification of the mandate. This removes barriers to implementing some standards while serving as a roadmap for improvement in years to come.

Open Science Badges

The Open Science Badges program was designed by the Center for Open Science (COS) to acknowledge open science practices. They are offered as incentives for researchers to share data, materials, or to preregister, and are a signal to the reader that the content of the study has been made available in perpetuity.

Is your research eligible for one of the Open Science Badges? Researchers submitting to journals that support this COS initiative have the opportunity to apply for one or more of the badges during submission. If accepted, the badge(s) will be displayed within the html and pdf versions of your article on Taylor & Francis Online.

    Read more about the Open Science Badges program.

    How do Open Science Badges enhance the openness of research?

    The badging program allows researchers to indicate when underlying content is available for others to use or verify. We see several benefits from this program: badging is associated with higher rates of data sharing even without open data mandates, which can be difficult to implement. Another interesting association is the higher quality of data sharing.

    Typically, an author can state that data are available while not actually putting all of the related data into a recognized repository, perhaps mistakenly thinking that figures or summaries contain “all of the data.” When the badge criteria are in front of the author and an editor checks that the URL points to a repository, there’s a bit more room to improve rates of actually making data available. And not just reportedly making data available, which is an important distinction!

    Finally, we see the badging program as a way to demonstrate how norms are shifting toward more transparent research practices. It’s easy to ignore the tide toward more open data and preregistrations, until you see reminders that peers are doing this every day, and are receiving recognition for these best practices.

    How will I know if a journal supports the Open Badges program?

      Taylor & Francis journals that have adopted the Open Science Badges initiative display a notice in the journal’s header on Taylor & Francis Online. Read the journal’s ‘Instructions for Authors’ for more information.

      Read our quick guide to open access publishing for information on open access journals.

      Which badges can I apply for?

      3 open science badges

      Taylor & Francis journals in this program currently offer 3 badges:

      • Open Data

      • Open Materials

      • Preregistered

      Articles need to meet the Open Science Badges criteria in order to earn a badge. Journal editors will contact authors to confirm if their application has been successful.

      How do I apply for a badge?

      If you submit a paper to a participating journal, you will then receive an email upon submission with:

      1. Details of the badges offered by the journal

      2. Links to additional information

      3. An open practices disclosure form

      4. The journal editor’s email address

      Vector illustration of a pink monitor with a blue locked padlock on it, with a giant blue key facing it.

      If you decide to proceed with a badge application, please complete the open practices disclosure form and email it back to the journal’s editor. The editor will then assess the submission against the criteria set out by COS.

      To apply for more than one, make sure you have met the criteria for each. If you have any questions about open research at Taylor & Francis, please email [email protected].