Presence and consequences of positive words in scientific abstracts

Authors : Moritz Edlinger, Finn Buchrieser, Guilherme Wood

Abstracts are the showcase of scientific studies, crafted to make an impression on the reader within a limited space and to determine the amount of attention each study receives. Systemic conditions in the sciences may change the expressive norm and incentive scientists to hype abstracts to promote their work and career. Previous studies found that terms such as “unprecedented”, “novel” and “unique” have been used increasingly in recent history, to describe one’s own research findings.

The present study investigates the use of valence-loaded scientific jargon in the abstracts of scientific articles. Sentiment analysis with dictionaries specifically attuned to detect valence-loaded scientific jargon was employed to analyze more than 2,300,000 MEDLINE abstracts from the fields of psychology, biology, and physics. Results show that over the last four decades, abstracts have contained an increasing amount of valence-loaded scientific jargon, as previously observed in earlier studies.

Moreover, our results reveal that the positive emotional content of abstracts is increasing in a way that cannot be accounted for by the increase in text length, which has also been observed in the same time period. There were small differences between scientific disciplines. A detailed analysis of the distribution of valence-loaded scientific jargon within abstracts reveals a strong concentration towards the end of the text.

We discuss these results in light of psychological evidence relating positive emotions with the propensity to overestimate the value of information to inform judgment and the increase in the competition for attention due to a pressure to publish.

URL : Presence and consequences of positive words in scientific abstracts


From Old School to Open Science: The Implications of New Research Norms for Educational Psychology and Beyond

Authors : Hunter Gehlbach, Carly Robinson

Recently, scholars have noted how several “old school” practices—a host of well-regarded, long-standing scientific norms—in combination, sometimes compromise the credibility of research.

In response, other scholarly fields have developed several “open science” norms and practices to address these credibility issues. Against this backdrop, this special issue explores the extent to which and how these norms should be adopted and adapted for educational psychology and education more broadly.

Our introductory article contextualizes the special issue’s goals by: overviewing the historical context that led to open science norms (particularly in medicine and psychology); providing a conceptual map to illustrate the interrelationships between various old school as well as open science practices; and then describing educational psychologists’ opportunity to benefit from and contribute to the translation of these norms to novel research contexts.

We conclude by previewing the articles in the special issue.


Analytic reproducibility in articles receiving open data badges at the journal Psychological Science: an observational study

Authors : Tom E. Hardwicke, Manuel Bohn, Kyle MacDonald, Emily Hembacher, Michèle B. Nuijten, Benjamin N. Peloquin, Benjamin E. deMayo, Bria Long, Erica J. Yoon, Michael C. Frank

For any scientific report, repeating the original analyses upon the original data should yield the original outcomes. We evaluated analytic reproducibility in 25 Psychological Science articles awarded open data badges between 2014 and 2015.

Initially, 16 (64%, 95% confidence interval [43,81]) articles contained at least one ‘major numerical discrepancy’ (>10% difference) prompting us to request input from original authors.

Ultimately, target values were reproducible without author involvement for 9 (36% [20,59]) articles; reproducible with author involvement for 6 (24% [8,47]) articles; not fully reproducible with no substantive author response for 3 (12% [0,35]) articles; and not fully reproducible despite author involvement for 7 (28% [12,51]) articles.

Overall, 37 major numerical discrepancies remained out of 789 checked values (5% [3,6]), but original conclusions did not appear affected.

Non-reproducibility was primarily caused by unclear reporting of analytic procedures. These results highlight that open data alone is not sufficient to ensure analytic reproducibility.

URL : Analytic reproducibility in articles receiving open data badges at the journal Psychological Science: an observational study


The Pandemic as a Portal: Reimagining Psychological Science as Truly Open and Inclusive

Authors : Alison Ledgerwood, Sa-kiera Hudson, Neil Lewis, Keith Maddox, Cynthia Pickett, Jessica Remedios, Sapna Cheryan, Amanda Diekman, Jin Goh, Stephanie Goodwin, Yuko Munakata, Danielle Navarro, Ivuoma Onyeador, Sanjay Srivastava, Clara Wilkins

Psychological science is at an inflection point: The COVID-19 pandemic has already begun to exacerbate inequalities that stem from our historically closed and exclusive culture. Meanwhile, reform efforts to change the future of our science are too narrow in focus to fully succeed.

In this paper, we call on psychological scientists—focusing specifically on those who use quantitative methods in the United States as one context in which such a conversation can begin—to reimagine our discipline as fundamentally open and inclusive.

First, we discuss who our discipline was designed to serve and how this history produced the inequitable reward and support systems we see today.

Second, we highlight how current institutional responses to address worsening inequalities are inadequate, as well as how our disciplinary perspective may both help and hinder our ability to craft effective solutions.

Third, we take a hard look in the mirror at the disconnect between what we ostensibly value as a field and what we actually practice. Fourth and finally, we lead readers through a roadmap for reimagining psychological science in whatever roles and spaces they occupy, from an informal discussion group in a department to a formal strategic planning retreat at a scientific society.


Opening Pandora’s Box: Peeking inside Psychology’s data sharing practices, and seven recommendations for change

Authors : John N. Towse, David A Ellis, Andrea S Towse

Open data-sharing is a valuable practice that ought to enhance the impact, reach, and transparency of a research project.

While widely advocated by many researchers and mandated by some journals and funding agencies, little is known about detailed practices across psychological science. In a pre-registered study, we show that overall, few research papers directly link to available data in many, though not all, journals.

Most importantly, even where open data can be identified, the majority of these lacked completeness and reusability—conclusions that closely mirror those reported outside of Psychology.

Exploring the reasons behind these findings, we offer seven specific recommendations for engineering and incentivizing improved practices, so that the potential of open data can be better realized across psychology and social science more generally.

URL : Opening Pandora’s Box: Peeking inside Psychology’s data sharing practices, and seven recommendations for change


Navigating Open Science as Early Career Feminist Researchers

Authors : Madeleine Pownall, Catherine Talbot, Anna Henschel, Alexandra Lautarescu, Kelly Lloyd, Helena Hartmann, Kohinoor Darda, Karen Tang, Parise Carmichael-Murphy, Jaclyn Siegel

Open Science aims to improve the rigour, robustness, and reproducibility of psychological research. Despite resistance from some academics, the Open Science movement has been championed by some Early Career Researchers (ECRs), who have proposed innovative new tools and methods to promote and employ open research principles.

Feminist ECRs have much to contribute to this emerging way of doing research. However, they face unique barriers, which may prohibit their full engagement with the Open Science movement.

We, ten feminist ECRs in psychology, from a diverse range of academic and personal backgrounds, explore Open Science through a feminist lens, to consider how voice and power may be negotiated in unique ways for ECRs. Taking a critical and intersectional approach, we discuss how feminist early career research may be complemented or challenged by shifts towards Open Science.

We also propose how ECRs can act as grassroots changemakers within the context of academic precarity. We identify ways in which Open Science can benefit from feminist epistemology and end with six practical recommendations for feminist ECRs who wish to engage with Open Science practices in their own research.