Open science at SMPC 2019

Open science was a bit of a theme at this year’s meeting of the Soceity of Music Perception and Cognition. Around my NYU hosting duties, I got to moderate and contributed to the Symposium on Open Science, a two part affair intended to encourage open science practices in our Music Cognition community. The whole project was coordinated by Dominique Vuvan, and also involved Psyche Loui, Bob Slevc, Dave Baker, and Haley E. Kragness.

The symposium’s focus was on making open science practices accessible to music science researchers by bringing in concrete examples from our own work and discussing how open science can help interdisciplinary research. Full slides are available here.

Two points from the audience discussion stuck with me:

– Opening up project materials beyond the publication may be good for accessibility and efficiency but it can also makes researchers more vulnerable. In order to lessen this potential cost, it is important for the community to maintain a culture of respect while addressing potential problems with work that is shared. Attacking researchers for honest mistakes or different interpretations will only discourage the sharing we need for better science.

– It’s important to make space for exploratory research on empirical data along side the more controlled hypothesis testing paradigms that fit into pre-registration practices. Theory development and the honing of methods have been collapsed into experiment reporting that often then use inappropriate statistics. We need space and appropriate language for the work of developing hypotheses, instead of rewarding the practice of changing the story for the journal article. (I expect there is plenty written about this in the philosophy of science. I should go check.)

Out of this session also came the request for the conference to have an open repository for posters and talk slides. With a few clicks and a couple emails the OSF meeting repository came into being and so far has several dozen of the 360+ presentations shared at the conference.

And in the spirit of open sharing, I’ve also posted the python scripts and latex files I used to make the program and abstract publications. May they get used again one day!

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