Program of Events

Making Social Science Transparent was a multidisciplinary conference addressing the issues of transparency, data and code accessibility, replication, and reproducibility. It was hosted by ISS on Friday, April 22, 2016, in the Walter A. Buehler Alumni Center at UC Davis.

In recent years, widely publicized studies in a variety of social science fields have documented a disturbing result: much of what we think we know in published research cannot be replicated or, in some cases, even reproduced. 

Moreover, given the widespread availability of social science data, including the emergence of “big data,” coupled with the relative ease with which complicated statistical models can be fitted to data, the practice known as “p-hacking”that is, fitting models to data until a given level of statistical significance is achievedhas raised the question of what “statistical significance” means in a substantive sense. 

On top of this, recent high profile scandals involving data fabrication have sparked renewed interest in the issues of transparency, data and code accessibility, replication, and reproducibility. This one-day conference brought together some of the leading scholars in the Social Sciences to discuss the issue of access and transparency in the Social Sciences. 

The conference was multidisciplinary, drawing on researchers from Economics, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, as well as other social science fields. The themes of the conference were three-fold. 

First, a number of scholars discussed the issue and prevalence of irreproducibility in the Social Sciences. Second, to enhance code and data accessibility and transparency, a panel was held on on the issue of data management, archiving, and otherwise best practices for data analysis and workflow in the Social Sciences. Third, drawing on insights from a number of journal editors and program officers from funding agencies, a moderated roundtable addressed the issue of how transparency and accessibility is being dealt with in the Social Sciences.

Read a summary of the conference

Making Social Science Transparent

A conference on the issues of transparency, data and code accessibility, replication, and reproducibility.

Friday, April 22, 2016

8:30 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.

AGR Room, Walter A. Buehler Alumni Center


8:30 a.m. Coffee and continental breakfast

8:45 a.m. Opening remarks: Duncan Temple Lang, Professor of Statistics, UC Davis

9:00 a.m. Defining the Issues: Research on Replication, Reproducibility, and Transparency

Moderator: Simine Vazire, Associate Professor of Psychology, UC Davis

  • Garret Christensen, Assistant Project Scientist, BITSS, UC Berkeley
    The Problems of Publication Bias and P-Hacking, and the Potential Solution of Pre-registration"
  • Richard E. Lucas, Professor of Psychology, Michigan State University
    "Two Simple Steps to Improve Social Science: Replicating Results and Ensuring Adequate Power" 
  • Cristobal Young, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Stanford University
    “See For Yourself”: The Pleasures and Sorrows of Transparency in Social Science Research.                               

10:30 a.m. BREAK

10:45 a.m. Best Practices in Action

Moderator:  Cory Belden, Ph.D. Candidate in Political Science, UC Davis                      

  • Katherine S. Corker, Assistant Professor of Psychology, Kenyon College
    Translating Open Science into Daily Practice"
  • Michael C. Frank, Associate Professor of Psychology, Stanford University
    Moving Towards a More Cumulative Research Practice"
  • Jehan Sparks, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Psychology
     "The Start-Local Gain Frame Approach: Maximizing Opportunities to Learn From Our Research"
  • Tracy K. Teal, Executive Director, Data Carpentry
    "Data Carpentry: Training in Best Practices to Enable Data-Driven Research"          

12:30 p.m. LUNCH 

1:15 p.m.  Journal Editors Roundtable

Moderator: Bradford Jones, Professor of Political Science, UC Davis

  • William G. Jacoby, Professor of Political Science, Michigan State University; Editor of the American Journal of Political Science; former Editor of the Journal of Politics 
  • Kristin Kanthak, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Pittsburgh, Co-Editor, State Politics and Policy Quarterly; Associate Editor, Journal of Experimental Political Science
  • John W. Patty, Professor of Political Science, University of Chicago, and Co-Editor of Journal of Theoretical Politics
  • Simine Vazire, Associate Professor of Psychology, UC Davis, Editor in Chief of Social Psychological and Personality Science and Senior Editor of Collabra                                          


3:00 p.m. BREAK

3:15 p.m.  Alternative Ways of Looking at Reproducibility and Transparency

Moderator: Erich Muehlegger, Assistant Professor of Economics, UC Davis

  • Jonathan Eisen, Professor, Genome Center, UC Davis
     "The Benefits (and Risks) of Open, Transparent Science"
  • Don A. Moore, Associate Professor, Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley
    "How to Start a Revolution" 
  • Shu Shen, Assistant Professor of Economics, UC Davis
    "Corruption and Manipulation in Chinese Air Quality Data:Does One Mistake Lead to Another?" 

5:00 p.m. Wine and Cheese reception