By EASST fellow Dr. Saint Kizito Omala, Lecturer at Makerere University and Senior Examinations Officer at the Uganda National Examinations Board. This is a cross-post of the BITSS blog.
Technical details, which are often hidden, are what guarantee the credibility of published scientific work. In this regard, Research Transparency (RT) is a primer! To lay bare all retraceable procedures and facts that lead to causal inference is a milestone towards value-for-money and the safeguarding of lives. Through the East Africa Social Science Translation (EASST) Visiting Fellowship program at the University of California, in partnership with the Berkeley Institute for Transparency in the Social Sciences (BITSS) and the Center for Open Science (COS), I was able to receive hands-on training on some of the best tools and practices in research transparency and reproducibility. The training was a great eye-opener to me as a researcher and consumer of research findings, as the merits of transparency and tools like Open Science Framework (OSF) have been an aid to scrutiny of research findings. I am convinced that research transparency is a good venture that profits reasonable generation of knowledge and its translation into policy or interventions.
I continue to practice and disseminate the idea of research transparency and associated tools. During the third day of the 2016 East Africa Impact Evaluation Workshop and Evidence Summit on July 14th at the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, I presented on the need for openness in academic research and publishing. During the EASST fellow led event, 110 researchers, policy-makers, and regional stakeholders were able to learn about how research findings can become more reliable through trainings on Pre-Analysis Plans, data publication via Dataverse, and study registration and workflow using the OSF.
Since my completion of the EASST fellowship in UC Berkeley last fall 2016, I have facilitated 6 Impact Evaluation and research transparency workshops for over 400 graduate students and academics across universities and institutions in Uganda, including Makerere University, Uganda Christian University, and the Uganda National Examinations Board. The next training will take place at Mbarara University of Science and Technology-Uganda, on August 5th, 2016. I think that the ways in which a university, research institution, or publisher embraces research transparency should majorly influence an institution’s world ranking attributes. For a collaborative freeware framework, repositories, and file versioning, try the OSF- and I highly encourage all to uptake practice in research transparency to curtail wastage and damage in the research process.