APA Journals Program Collaborates with Center for Open Science to Advance Open Science Practices in Psychological Research

Offers preprint services, data repository, open science badges

WASHINGTON — The American Psychological Association, the nonprofit publisher of 90 psychology journals, has entered a partnership with the Center for Open Science to offer open science badges to authors, create an APA data repository to ease sharing and designate a preferred preprint server for APA journal articles.

“APA has always focused on providing the leading outlets for psychological research results,” said APA Executive Publisher Jasper Simons. “The psychological science community is looking to us to provide additional options for communicating research efforts. Partnering with the Center for Open Science will help us do that as we expand our offerings with preprint services and a data repository.”

APA’s journals program also supports open science badges, offered to authors who choose to share their data or materials or pre-register studies in an effort to promote transparency in scientific research. Three APA-published journals have begun awarding the badges, and more are expected to follow, according to APA Journals Publisher Rose Sokol-Chang, PhD.

“Open science badges are an important way for our journals to reflect soundness in scientific practice and data sharing,” said Sokol-Chang. “They are an incentive to researchers to share data and a sign to journal readers that data are available in an accessible location.”

The badges were developed in 2013 by a committee supported by the Center for Open Science. “Adoption of badges by APA will have a dramatic impact on data sharing for the entire field,” said Brian Nosek, PhD, the center’s director. “Not only will it promote data sharing in APA's many important journals, but it could inspire other journals in psychology and allied fields to follow APA's example.”

APA’s data repository will be hosted by the Center for Open Science’s Open Science Framework. This repository will help researchers work on a project privately, with a limited number of collaborators, or allow them to make parts of or their entire project publicly accessible. The repository will store and archive research data, protocols and materials, with data being made open once it is published in an APA journal.

APA Journals has also designated PsyArXiv (psychology archive) as the preferred preprint server for APA titles, with plans to integrate with the submission portals for some APA-published journals, said Sokol-Chang. PsyArXiv allows scholars to post documents such as working papers, unpublished work and articles under review (preprints), making them accessible to other researchers and the public at no cost. Users can also upload revisions of their posted document and supplemental documents, such as appendices.

PsyArXiv is operated by the Society for the Improvement of Psychological Science and hosted and maintained by the Center for Open Science.

The APA-published journals that are currently awarding badges are: Law and Human Behavior, the journal of APA Div. 41 (American Psychology-Law Society); Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, the journal of APA Div. 45 (Society for the Psychological Study of Culture, Ethnicity and Race); and the Canadian Psychological Association's Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology.

To earn badges, authors must report that they have placed data and other materials related to an article on a qualifying repository, or that they have pre-registered their research design.

APA's Board of Scientific Affairs has affirmed that data sharing promotes scientific progress, encouraging a culture of openness and accountability in scientific research. “This is one more way that APA is meeting its mission to promote research in psychology, the improvement of research methods and conditions, and the application of research findings to benefit society and improve people’s lives,” said Sokol-Chang.

The American Psychological Association, in Washington, D.C., is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States. APA's membership includes nearly 115,700 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Through its divisions in 54 subfields of psychology and affiliations with 60 state, territorial and Canadian provincial associations, APA works to advance the creation, communication and application of psychological knowledge to benefit society and improve people's lives.