Supervision is one important way to socialize Ph.D. candidates into open and responsible research. We hypothesized that one should be more likely to identify open science practices (here publishing open access and sharing data) in empirical publications that were part of a Ph.D. thesis when the Ph.D. candidates’ supervisors engaged in these practices compared to those whose supervisors did not or less often did.
Departing from thesis repositories at four Dutch University Medical centers, we included 211 pairs of supervisors and Ph.D. candidates, resulting in a sample of 2062 publications. We determined open access status using UnpaywallR and Open Data using Oddpub, where we also manually screened publications with potential open data statements. Eighty-three percent of our sample was published openly, and 9% had open data statements.
Having a supervisor who published open access more often than the national average was associated with an odds of 1.99 to publish open access. However, this effect became nonsignificant when correcting for institutions. Having a supervisor who shared data was associated with 2.22 (CI:1.19–4.12) times the odds to share data compared to having a supervisor that did not.
This odds ratio increased to 4.6 (CI:1.86–11.35) after removing false positives. The prevalence of open data in our sample was comparable to international studies; open access rates were higher. Whilst Ph.D. candidates spearhead initiatives to promote open science, this study adds value by investigating the role of supervisors in promoting open science.