How research has changed through the pandemic
Let’s talk about the movement towards connected and open science that has happened and is still happening right now due to the pandemic that the corona virus brought upon us. You may have noticed as well that research has started to stretch its boundaries remarkably in the presence of the virus. Facing death, the fear of losing people close to your heart and the threat of our very own existential foundations has turned not only our personal but the economic and scientific world upside down.
The field of psychology has been profoundly impacted by the replication and reproducibility crises – which unearthed many issues in the way psychological science is conducted (if you are unfamiliar or want to refresh your knowledge, Galetzka, 2019, offers a short summary).
As a reaction to these issues, many initiatives across the world are now trying to implement changes in our research culture – changes that are usually referred to under the umbrella term “Open Science”.
One of the fundamental characteristics is that many of these initiatives are lead by young researchers eager to do the best research they can. These are mostly PhD students or PostDocs, but under-/graduate students often lead, too.
We at JEPS share these convictions as well and try to promote Open Science principles, for instance by offering Registered Reports or informing students through our JEPS Ambassadors.
But more importantly, we are glad to be joined by other students’ initiatives with the same goals – which we would like to present to you in our ongoing series “Open Science Bottom Up”. Last time, we presented you OSIP and their work they do across Germany – check out our interview.
Now, we got together with Myrthe Veenman, Karoline Huth, Lea Schuhmacher, and Maike Dahrendorf from the University of Amsterdam.
The four founded SIOS, the Student Initiative for Open Science – as they describe it: a home for “students with a passion for Open Science”.
Photo by courtesy of Dr. Hu
Open Science practices are becoming increasingly common and we at the Journal of European Psychology Students, are committed to Open Science practices and to promote researchers engaging in them.
Today, we have the privilege of interviewing one of these researchers. Dr. Chuan-Peng Hu is a postdoctoral researcher at the German Resilience Center (Deutsches Resilienz Zentrum, DRZ) in Mainz and an Assistant Director at the Psychological Science Accelerator (PSA). After studying Law and Psychology at University, he completed a Master’s programme in Social Psychology in Wuhan, China. In 2007, he completed his PhD in Beijing before moving to Germany. His research investigates the consolidation of positive memories, which may play a role in the resilience to stress.
The replication crisis has spread all across the scientific community. In the field of psychology, scientists were not able to replicate more than half of previous findings (Open Science Collaboration, 2015). For a long time this problem went unnoticed, but a critical moment occurred when Daryl Bem published his now infamous paper on humans’ ability to quite literally predict the future (Bem, 2011). Many readers doubted his findings as there was no logical basis for the ability to predict the future and years later Daniel Engber summarized it nicely when he wrote:
“(…) the paper posed a very difficult dilemma. It was both methodologically sound and logically insane. (…). If you bought into those results, you’d be admitting that much of what you understood about the universe was wrong. If you rejected them, you’d be admitting something almost as momentous: that the standard methods of psychology cannot be trusted, and that much of what gets published in the field—and thus, much of what we think we understand about the mind—could be total bunk.“ (Engber, 2017)
For us Editors of JEPS, one of the most important topics in current psychological science and beyond are the issues of replicability and reproducibility [for an introduction, see Galetzka, 2019], as well as possible paths to solutions.
The keyword here is Open Science, an umbrella term for activities which strive to make science more transparent, openly accessible, and reproducible, in an effort to increase our confidence in the results we read in the body of scientific literature.
While many Open Science initiatives are led by more senior researchers, the movement is fundamentally driven by bottom-up initiatives of early-career researchers, but students as well.
For this interview, we sat down and got together with one of these student-led initiatives: The PsyFaKo’s Open Science Initiative [OSIP, Open Science Initiative der PsyFaKo e.V., webpage in German], a working group in the German Convention of Student Councils of Psychology. They made headlines in the landscape of German psychology last year when they released a position paper on the Replication Crisis and Open Science, which had a considerable impact at German universities. Continue reading