• University of California, Berkeley logo
  • Center for Effective Global Action (CEGA)
  • Berkeley Initiative for Transparency in the Social Sciences (BITSS)

Transparent and Open Social Science Research

Explore the drivers of the social science credibility crisis and learn tools to make your own work more open and reproducible.

2,623 enrolled on this course

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  • Duration

    5 weeks
  • Weekly study

    4 hours

Explore tools to address transparency issues in social science research

Demand for evidence-based policy is growing, but so is recognition that limited transparency in social science research has contributed to what many have called a crisis of reproducibility and credibility.

Join this course to discuss major transparency issues, including fraud, publication bias, and data mining. You’ll also discuss emerging solutions to these problems, explore tools to improve transparency in your own research, and identify flaws in others’ work.

This course was developed by the Berkeley Initiative for Transparency in the Social Sciences (BITSS), headquartered at UC Berkeley.

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What topics will you cover?

  • Scientific Ethics and the Reproducibility Crisis
  • Publication Bias, Specification Search, and the “File Drawer” Problem
  • Pre-registration and Pre-analysis Plans
  • The Open Science Framework (OSF)
  • Approaches to Replication and Meta-Analysis
  • Open Data and Code
  • Transparent Data Visualization
  • Your Role in the Open Science Movement

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Develop an understanding of the root and systemic causes of limited transparency and openness in social science research, including publication bias, p-hacking, and other forms of scientific misconduct.
  • Explore the tools that you can use to improve transparency in your own research and identify flaws in others' work.
  • Apply research transparency tools (such as p-curve.com) to real data presented in interactive quizzes and other activities.
  • Establish an account on the Open Science Framework (OSF), explore the platform, and reflect on how you might use it in your own work.
  • Discuss the tools that publishers are beginning to use to incentivize research transparency and reproducibility.
  • Learn how to design a pre-analysis plan (PAP), as well as explore study registries where PAPs are posted.
  • Explore different frameworks to improve the robustness and credibility of social science research, including meta-analysis and replication.
  • Participate in the open science movement and become an engaged researcher!

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for academics and practitioners who are engaging in social science research, as well as anyone who is interested in better understanding open science and research transparency.

To get the most out of this course, you will need:

  • a good understanding of statistics
  • undergraduate or preferably graduate experience of econometrics and/or statistical methods
  • some experience with statistical software such as Stata or R.

What software or tools do you need?

To take part in this course, we recommend you install R, a free statistical software. Download R at https://www.r-project.org/.

You can also use Stata, which can be downloaded for a fee. Many educational institutions offer discounted packages to registered students. Learn more at https://www.stata.com/.

Who will you learn with?

I'm a Professor of Economics at UC Berkeley and Faculty Director of the Center for Effective Global Action (CEGA). My main research focus is African economic development and research transparency.

I am a postdoctoral fellow at BITSS. I work on applying principles and tools of research transparency into policy analysis.

Who developed the course?

University of California, Berkeley

Home to more than 27,000 undergraduates and more than 10,000 graduate students, Berkeley is internationally renowned for excellence and pioneering achievements across all disciplines.

Center for Effective Global Action (CEGA)

The Center for Effective Global Action (CEGA) is a hub for research on global development, with a network of over 70 academic researchers.

Berkeley Initiative for Transparency in the Social Sciences (BITSS)

The Berkeley Initiative for Transparency in the Social Sciences (BITSS) works to strengthen the integrity of social science research and evidence used for policy-making.

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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