The Department of Communication aims to implement increasingly open science practices. Starting from 2021, Tobias Dienlin is the department's open science officer. He is our contact person for all questions related to open science.

To support students and researchers in the process of implementing open science, on this site you can find material, background information, and concrete recommendations.

Why do we need Open Science?

In the social sciences there is an increasing call for open science. One of the factors that sparked this call for change is the so-called replication crisis. The last years have shown that researchers often cannot replicate successfully the work of their colleagues.1 This lack of replicability is problematic because replication is crucial for obtaining robust scientific knowledge.

In communication, we are currently still lacking a large scale replication project. But even if there should turn out to be no crisis in communication, implementing open science would still be beneficial. Open science builds on Merton's four principles of science, being communism, universality, disinterestedness, and organized skepticism.

What is Open Science?

The aim of open science is increasing and facilitating accessibility to research. The following practices are commonly listed as open science practices.

  • Sharing data. To do so, we recommend platforms such as the Open Science Framework or AUSSDA – The Austrian Social Science Data Archive. Datasets should ideally be assigned a digital object identifier (DOI), which facilitates referencability.
  • Sharing research materials (items, instructions, stimuli). We again recommend the Open Science Framework, but generally all major online repositories are okay. Sharing materials facilitates conducting replications of the study and allows for a better understanding of the research at hand.
  • Sharing syntax. This includes the code necessary to run the statistical analyses.
  • Sharing results and additional analyses.
  • Publishing preprints. Preprints are so-called author versions of the manuscripts submitted to journals. In other words, preprints are not the officially typeset final versions with the journal's layout, but the authors' version of the manuscripts, often written in Word or LaTeX. Most publishers accept sharing preprints – if you want to check whether the journal you submitted to allows preprints, you can check here. We recommend publishing preprints on socarxiv, a preprint server suitable for communication.

In addition, there are several open science practices focussing directly on the research process.

  • Preregistering study designs. This includes writing down hypotheses, research questions, theoretical approaches, study designs, and analysis methods before the study is actually run and before the data are collected. We recommend using the preregistration template of the Center for Open Science.
  • Conducting and submitting research as Registered Reports. The basic idea is to submit a preregistered study to a journal before it is actually conducted and before results are obtained. If the initial submission is evaluated positively, it receives a conditional acceptance. In the next step, the data are collected, analyzed, and the complete manuscript is written. This complete manuscript is then again submitted to the journal. At this stage, however, it is only checked whether all analyses were conducted as planned. If so, publication is guaranteed. This helps fight publication bias, because otherwise significant findings are more likely to be published. Registered Reports are increasingly offered also in communication. For an overview of journals adopting open science practices, click here.
  • Conducting replications. To determine which studies and findings are robust we need to conduct replications. In communication, we currently conduct next to no direct replications, despite their high epistemic value. We think it is a good idea to consider conducting a replication as part of a dissertation.
  • Collaborations with other researchers. To obtain results that are robust, it often requires large samples, which are expensive and can be obtained often only in joint efforts. For example, at this point there exists no large scale replication effort in communication, which would require a large-scale collaboration.
  • Secondary analyses. There exists a plethora of high quality large scale datasets. Each time before new data is collected, it makes sense to check whether there are already existing datasets that can be used to answer the same or a closely related research question. For a list of freely available datasets, click here.

The following aspects are also central to Open Science:

  • Making teaching material freely available (for a nice example, see the online book Learning Statistics with R).
  • Developing and using freely available software (for example R or Rmarkdown).
  • Making transparent the evaluation process of research, a process often referred to as Open Peer Review.
  • Fostering diversity in the research process and in the selection of research questions.

Where can I can find further information?

To learn more about open science, we can recommend checking the following publications.

Research articles

  • Dienlin, T., Johannes, N., Bowman, N. D., Masur, P. K., Engesser, S., Kümpel, A. S., Lukito, J., Bier, L. M., Zhang, R., Johnson, B. K., Huskey, R., Schneider, F. M., Breuer, J., Parry, D. A., Vermeulen, I., Fisher, J. T., Banks, J., Weber, R., Ellis, D. A., … de Vreese, C. (2021). An agenda for open science in communication. Journal of Communication, 71(1). doi:10.1093/joc/jqz052
  • Lewis Jr, N. A. (2020). Open communication science: A primer on why and some recommendations for how. Communication Methods and Measures, 14(2), 71–82. doi:10.1080/19312458.2019.1685660
  • Munafò, M. R., Nosek, B. A., Bishop, D. V. M., Button, K. S., Chambers, C. D., Du Percie Sert, N., Simonsohn, U., Wagenmakers, E.-J., Ware, J. J., & Ioannidis, J. P. A. (2017). A manifesto for reproducible science. Nature Human Behaviour, 1(1). doi:10.1038/s41562-016-0021


  • Chambers, C. (2019). The seven deadly sins of psychology: A manifesto for reforming the culture of scientific practice.
  • Ritchie, S. (2020). Science fictions: Exposing fraud, bias, negligence and hype in science.


Organisations and initiatives

Who can I ask when I have questions?

The department's current open science officer is Tobias Dienlin. Feel free to write if you have any questions!

1 Nosek, B. A., Hardwicke, T. E., Moshontz, H., Allard, A., Corker, K. S., Almenberg, A. D., Fidler, F., Hilgard, J., Kline, M., Nuijten, M. B., Rohrer, J. M., Romero, F., Scheel, A. M., Scherer, L., Schönbrodt, F., & Vazire, S. (2021). Replicability, robustness, and reproducibility in psychological science. PsyArXiv. doi:10.31234/