Walls Can Fall: The Open Science Movement - Professor Brian Nosek

Free Public Lecture

Walls Can Fall: The Open Science Movement - Professor Brian Nosek

Kathleen Fitzpatrick Theatre, West Wing
Arts West


The vision encoded in the Open Science movement is about creating a global scientific community underpinned by transparency: that is, where the methods scientists use as well as the results of their research are openly accessible by their peers, by you, by default. We are not quite there yet. There is still a wall standing between scientific values and practices. This wall needs to be dismantled, beginning with an examination of how and what we reward in scientific work. You've all probably heard the phrase, "publish or perish" – it is tired, but no less true. The currency of academic science is getting published. Producing novel, positive, and clean results maximizes the likelihood of publishing success because those are the best kind of results. But, not only are such results rare to obtain, we often learn as much or more from studies that fail to produce the best kind of results. However, in an environment where getting published is an imperative, there is a trend for scientists to employ flexible analytic and selective reporting practices to increase their chances of publishing success. Although“questionable research practices” are frowned upon by the scientific community, they are hard to avoid in a competitive marketplace with minimal accountability. This is where I argue the Open Science movement offers another way. Openness and transparency offer end-users of scientific results access to information about the origins of those results – that is, how you went about obtaining them, or your methodology – than is typically made publicly available. This allows your peers to better judge your results; it also shifts the focus away from largely rewarding the production of results that fit current measures (of being novel, positive, and clean) to rewarding good methods. Open Science doesn’t mean we’ll reduce the production of the best kind of results, it simply makes clear when they have been truly earned.


  • Professor Brian  Nosek
    Professor Brian Nosek, Director and Co-Founder, Executive Director and Co-Founder, Center for Open Science (COS)