Science in a digitalized era: Swiss Open Psychological Science Initiative (SOPSI)

The so-called “reproducibility crisis” has shaken the standards of science (Open Science Collaboration, 2015). It’s becoming increasingly clear that open practices are the heart of science. The built-up of scientific knowledge requires careful scrutiny and replication across multiple sites, scientists, and populations. This task is further compounded by the need to systematically vary parameters of the experimental set-up to uncover the boundary conditions of the phenomena under study. This is not a small endeavor, and one that can only be achieved when scientists align themselves with the new digital advancements. Science in a digitalized era is open, public, reproducible, and collaborative. Psychology is in the avant-garde of this scientific revolution. As psychology’s renaissance (Nelson, Simmons, & Simonsohn, 2018) unfolds though, it is likely to reshape the scientific landscape. We should seize the opportunity to remain competitive by fostering the adoption of open practices and multi-site collaborations among Swiss-based psychologists. Although many psychologists recognize the importance of open science and multi-site collaborations, in practice its adoption still faces barriers. This project aims to break-through these difficulties. More specifically, our goals are three-fold: (a) to get a better understanding of the difficulties Swiss-based psychologists face in adopting open practices (see 2017 survey carried out by the Open Science Working Group at Cardiff University); (b) to create a network of pro-open-science psychologists that share tips and tools (see Network der Open-Science-Initiativen and UK Open Science Working Groups, for similar initiatives in Germany and the UK, respectively), and (c) to create a platform for the launching of national (and, potentially, international) multi-site studies (see, for a similar initiative). The pursuit of these goals is critical for allowing UNIGE and UZH to meet their digital strategies regarding psychological science, and to take a leading role in shaping the landscape of this scientific field. Ultimately the launching of a Swiss consortium of multi-lab studies will create collaborations among Swiss-based psychologists, and offer a medium-scale opportunity to meet the standards of reproducible and generalizable psychological science. With its multi-cultural background (e.g., three languages), great pool of experts, and relative small area (making travel-distance manageable for even a single-day event), collaborations among labs based in different Swiss universities offer the best of multi-lab consortiums (i.e., different scientists, populations, languages) with smaller risks and costs (e.g., reduction in management difficulties). Last but not least, this provides an opportunity to train the new generation of researchers in open science in a sustainable manner and to create a culture of open science among Swiss-based psychologists. To achieve these goals, the following steps will be required:
  1. Creation of a survey to assess the experiences of Swiss-based psychologists with open science and multi-site collaboration
  2. Creation of interconnected platforms (website + twitter account + email newsletter) for gathering pro-open-science psychologists (and maintaining a pro-open-science culture), and for launching of multi-site collaborations
  3. Organization of a workshop that a) promotes open science practices among psychologists, b) provides targeted training for psychologists, addressing the barriers as revealed in the survey, and c) launches the multi-lab consortium, thereby establishing the Swiss Open Psychological Science Initiative (SOPSI).
Participants: Dr. Evie Vergauwe, University of Geneva Dr. Alessandra S. Souza, University of Zurich