Science has released a wide-ranging set of guidelines for the publication of basic science studies, the New York Times reports. The guidelines additionally call for the adoption of standards for the sharing of data and methods.
The Times notes that these guidelines come in the wake of a number of high-profile retractions of scientific papers, including one last month in Science.
At Science, the Transparency and Openness Promotion Guidelines Committee, which includes representatives from various journals, funding agencies, and research institutions, presents eight standards to encourage openness. These standards address citations; data, analytical, research material, and design transparency; preregistration of studies and analytical plans; and replication.
The committee also designated levels, zero through three, for how stringently followed the guidelines are. For instance, level one data transparency would be an article stating whether data are available and where they could be found, while level three data transparency would be when data are placed in a repository and analyses are independently reproduced prior to publication.
"By developing shared standards for open practices across journals, we hope to translate scientific norms and values into concrete actions and change the current incentive structures to drive researchers' behavior toward more openness," the committee writes.
The Times notes that more than 100 journals and 31 scientific organizations are signatories to these new guidelines.
Ivan Oransky, co-founder of the blog Retraction Watch, tells the Times this is a good first step. "But the proof will be in the pudding, in whether journals actually hold scientists' feet to the fire," he adds.