Journal Data Sharing Policies and Statistical Reporting Inconsistencies in Psychology

Authors : Michele Nuijten, Jeroen Borghuis, Coosje Veldkamp, Linda Alvarez, Marcel van Assen, Jelte Wicherts

In this paper, we present three studies that investigate the relation between data sharing and statistical reporting inconsistencies. Previous research found that reluctance to share data was related to a higher prevalence of statistical errors, often in the direction of statistical significance (Wicherts, Bakker, & Molenaar, 2011).

We therefore hypothesized that journal policies about data sharing and data sharing itself would reduce these inconsistencies. In Study 1, we compared the prevalence of reporting inconsistencies in two similar journals on decision making with different data sharing policies.

In Study 2, we compared reporting inconsistencies in articles published in PLOS (with a data sharing policy) and Frontiers in Psychology (without a data sharing policy). In Study 3, we looked at papers published in the journal Psychological Science to check whether papers with or without an Open Practice Badge differed in the prevalence of reporting errors.

Overall, we found no relationship between data sharing and reporting inconsistencies. We did find that journal policies on data sharing are extremely effective in promoting data sharing.

We argue that open data is essential in improving the quality of psychological science, and we discuss ways to detect and reduce reporting inconsistencies in the literature.