Making science open and reproducible

Science has received some criticism recently. Researchers have shown that some (not all) scientific findings are not reproducible. One contributing factor to this problem is that scientific endeavours are not always transparent or open. Fortunately, scientists are actively responding to this problem.

One major player in this area is the The Berkeley Initiative for Transparency in the Social Sciences (BITSS). The main aims of this initiative are to promote research transparency, reproducibility, and openness. Earlier this year, BITSS teamed up with The Centre for Effective Global Action to offer a small number of research grants to support projects that would make science more transparent (Social Science Meta-Analysis and Research Transparency Grant).


Hopin Lee

Our group (McAuley group) in partnership with researchers at the George Institute for Global Health and the Hunter Medical Research Institute were one of few groups to be awarded this grant. Our funded project will address a key problem that limits the reproducibility of scientific findings related to casual mechanisms. Understanding causal mechanisms is central to scientific progress across a wide range of disciplines including health. But this area of research has been stifled by poor reporting consistency in scientific articles. It was clear to us that something needed to be done about this.

Our project will solve this problem by developing a standardised reporting guideline. We will identify critical elements of causal mechanism studies that should be reported in scientific papers. The implementation of this reporting guideline should improve transparency and reporting accuracy for scientific papers that investigate causal mechanisms. This should have wide reaching impact across many disciplines.

We are just getting started and we are very excited to be a part of this movement towards making science more open and reproducible. In keeping with this culture of “Open Science”, we will be making every step of this project transparent. You can track our live progress here.


Hopin Lee recently won Best Presentation at the International Low Back and Neck Pain Forum in the UK (one of the world’s most important meetings in the pain field) for his plenary talk on innovative online approaches to pain rehabilitation and he also won second place for his poster on a novel method of boosting recruitment for back pain trials.

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