Workshop on Data Access and Research Transparency (DA-RT) in Political Science: Implications for Journal Practices

September 18-19, 2014


Since 2011, the American Political Science Association (APSA) has been engaged in a multi-layered dialogue on data access and research transparency (DA-RT). As part of this conversation, APSA Council approved in 2010 the formation of the Ad Hoc Committee on Data Access and Research Transparency to discuss openness in the discipline. These conversations produced substantial revisions to APSA's Guide to Professional Ethics in Political Science and updated the discipline's general expectations for openness. Since then, the DA-RT committee has been working with various groups to develop practices that can improve transparency while being sensitive to the needs of diverse research traditions. One recent product of these efforts is the January 2014 symposium on DA-RT in PS: Political Science & Politics, which includes essays from journal editors and archivists. The introduction to that symposium includes separate draft guidelines for attaining transparency in qualitative and quantitative research traditions.

The September 18-19, 2014 workshop followed on from these earlier efforts, and provided stakeholders in the transparency project an opportunity to discuss next steps. Journal editors, domain repository officers, representatives from publishing houses, and topic practitioners (in addition to APSA staff) were invited to attend this two-day workshop. Participants discussed a range of openness issues, including research transparency, pre-registration of research designs, the integration of transparency requirements into journal management software, incentives for replication, and data sharing.

The workshop comprised various components:

An overview of the transparency conversation to date in political science and related disciplines. Relevant background materials included the APSA Ethics Guide, the DA-RT symposium in PS, and “Research Transparency, Data Access, and Data Citation: A Call to Action for Scholarly Publications,” which was issued on March 16, 2014, and produced by the “Data Citation and Research Transparency Standards for the Social Sciences” Meeting at ICPSR on June 13–14, 2013. These and other sources were used to launch forward-looking and action-oriented conversations about how to better facilitate and incentivize data access, production transparency, and analytic transparency.

Brief presentations on recently proposed or implemented transparency facilitating practices, including:

  • The use of persistent identifiers, and the role of trusted repositories, in developing better citation practices;
  • The pre-registration of experimental and observational research designs;
  • The incorporation of transparency standards into journal workflow, in particular through recent developments in editorial software;
  • The use of active citation (digitally enhanced citations) to achieve research transparency, in particular in the qualitative tradition; and
  • The use of “badges for open practices” developed by the Center for Open Science.

Breakout sessions to delineate and develop effective responses to key questions facing journal editors and archivists.

Topics included:

  1. The purposes for which data are shared (for replication/transparency, secondary analysis, and/or pedagogical purposes), and what authors need to provide so their data can serve those purposes. For example, for replication, what do authors need to do to satisfy both production transparency and analytic transparency?
  2. The timing of sharing data and supporting materials. Possible triggers include manuscript submission, requests by reviewers, electronic publication, paper publication, and within a specified time after publication. Questions were also addressed about whether reviewers can or should have access to data and related documentation during the editorial process.
  3. How journals should guide scholars to satisfy openness standards when the data they use are under ethical or proprietary constraint.
  4. How journals can provide incentives for data sharing, including insisting on appropriate citation and increasing disciplinary credit for data sharing as a value-adding practice.
  5. How journals can help to ensure that the discipline establishes adequate training facilities to prepare scholars to engage in data management.
  6. How journals can address the concerns of qualitative researchers regarding the potential implications of data transparency for their work including the issues of confidentiality and data access.

One important outcome from the meeting was an agreement by the journal editors attending to draft and consider a joint statement, committing their respective publications to transparency.


George Alter, University of Michigan, director, ICPSR
R. Michael Alvarez, California Institute of Technology, co-editor, Political Analysis
Paul Ardoin, Appalachian State University, co-editor, PS: Political Science & Politics
Neal Beck, New York University
Sara Bowman, Center for Open Science
Janet Box-Steffensmeier, Ohio State University
Elaine Brock, University of Michigan
Tom Carsey, University of North Carolina, director, Odum Institute
Logan Casey, University of Michigan
Eleni Castro, Institute for Quantitative Social Science, Harvard University
Louise Corti, University of Essex, associate director, UK Data Archive
Jesse Crosson, University of Michigan
Colin Elman, Syracuse University, director, Center for Qualitative and Multi-Method Inquiry, and co-director, Qualitative Data Repository
Leah Fargotstein, Sage Publications, editor, Social Science Journals
Jeremy Gelman, University of Michigan
Paul Gronke, Reed College, co-editor, PS: Political Science & Politics
Macartan Humphreys, Columbia University
Paul Huth, University of Maryland, editor, Journal of Conflict Resolution
John Ishiyama, University of North Texas, lead editor, American Political Science Review
William G. Jacoby, Michigan State University, editor, American Journal of Political Science
Julia Kamin, University of Michigan
Diana Kapiszewski, Georgetown University, co-director, Qualitative Data Repository
Ronald Kassimir, senior advisor, Social Science Research Council
Jonathan N. Katz, California Institute of Technology, co-editor, Political Analysis
Arthur Lupia, Center for Political Studies, University of Michigan
Sean Lynn-Jones, Harvard University, managing editor, International Security
Walter Mebane, Center for Political Studies, University of Michigan
Andrew Moravcsik, Princeton University
James Moskowitz, Indiana University, managing editor, Perspectives on Politics
Elizabeth Moss, ICPSR, University of Michigan
Brian Nosek, University of Virginia, and Center for Open Science
David J. Samuels, University of Minnesota, co-editor, Comparative Political Studies
Steven Rathgeb Smith, executive director, American Political Science Association
Barbara Walthall, American Political Science Association and managing editor, PS: Political Science & Politics
Mark Zadrozny, Cambridge University Press, publisher, Humanities and Social Science Journals


  1. APSA Workshop on Data Access and Research Transparency (DA-RT) in Political Science
    --Colin Elman, Syracuse University, director, Center for Qualitative and Multi-Method Inquiry, and co-director, Qualitative Data Repository
    --Arthur Lupia, Center for Political Studies, University of Michigan
  2. Data Citation, Persistent Identifiers, and Trusted Repositories
    --George Alter, University of Michigan, director, ICPSR
  3. Towards an Integrated Transparent Journal Publishing Workflow
    --Eleni Castro, IQSS, Harvard University
  4. Transparency: The Emerging Revolution in Qualitative Analysis
    --Andrew Moravcsik, Princeton University
  5. Registration in Political Science: Reflections and Proposals
    --Macartan Humphreys, Columbia University
  6. Nudging Incentives toward Open and Reproducible Practices
    --Brian Nosek, University of Virginia and Center for Open Science

Workshop Sponsors

Center for Qualitative and Multi-Method Inquiry, Syracuse University
Center for Political Studies, University of Michigan