The key to the effectiveness of the Initiative is the collective action of reviewers. We suggest the following guidelines.
If you are a reviewer, check the author note of any paper you have accepted to review. If the authors have not certified compliance with the openness principles set forth in the Initiative — or given an account of why they cannot do so — then contact the action editor tell him or her that you would like the authors to certify that they meet the requirements:
I believe strongly in the value of openness and transparency. Please ask the authors on my behalf whether they can certify that they have met the standards of the Peer Reviewers’ Openness Initiative (https://opennessinitiative.org/).
If the authors cannot meet the basic requirements outlined in the Initiative, your review is very easy:
I cannot recommend this paper for publication, as it does not meet the minimum quality requirements for an open scientific manuscript (see https://opennessinitiative.org/). I would be happy to review a revision of the manuscript that corrects this critical oversight.
Do not outright decline to review a paper on the grounds that the paper does not meet the requirements of the Initiative. A minimal review, solely stating that the paper does not meet your minimum requirements for publication in the scientific literature, is much more valuable than declining to review because the authors will see your reasoning. Your responsibility as a peer-reviewer is quality control, and encouraging open data practices is part of that responsibility.
Finally, it is important to remember that the goal of the Initiative is to increase the quality of published research by creating the expectation of open research practices. It is therefore important not to use the Initiative in too legalistic a manner. We believe that researchers should be open with the products of their research in the vast majority of cases, particularly in the social and behavioral sciences; however, reasonable and clearly-explained exceptions can and should be made occasionally.
- Joint Declaration of Data Citation Principles: The FORCE11 group’s statement of basic principles of data citation
- The Denton Declaration: An open data manifesto, which lays out broad principles of data management and sharing
- The Open Science Peer Review Oath: General guidelines for reviewers to follow as advocates of open science
- Uniform Principle for Sharing Integral Data and Materials Expeditiously (UPSIDE): Principles for the scientific community regarding sharing
- Transparency and Openness Promotion (TOP) Guidelines: Guidelines for journals regarding transparent research
- Alex Holcombe’s best practices for reviewers: a collaborative , work-in-progress document listing good reviewer practices in several categories (including data sharing)
- Further references