Open Science Series: Is Open Science Better Science?
Open Science Series
Is open science better science?
Dr. Ewout Steyerberg, Department of Biomedical Data Sciences, Leiden University Medical Centre, Leiden, the Netherlands
The Open Science movement has many components, including Open Access to scientific publications, sharing of research data, and providing open source software. These components are expected to contribute to better science. In this seminar I aim to reflect on the strength and limitations of Open Science in the context of epidemiological research. First, I note that by making research more open, the scale of research increases; this might enable addressing some research questions better. This allows is to recognize that different researchers use different scientific approaches; Open science makes that we become increasingly aware of different styles in research. Second, we may hope to learn more about the value of modern approaches to data analysis such as machine learning. Indeed, neural comparison studies benefit from the open availability of multiple data sets that can be analyzed with standardized approaches to the analysis, adding realism compared to analytical and simulation studies. Third, I note that more data sharing is a positive development, especially to highlight heterogeneity between settings. In sum, I remain optimistic that open science will lead to better science, with the caveat that we recognize complexities that limit the interpretation of increasing amounts of data, such as the medical context, study design, measurement and data analysis.