Evidence on Research Transparency in Economics
Miguel, Edward. (2021). “Evidence on Research Transparency in Economics”, Journal of Economic Perspectives, 35(3): 193-214, DOI: 10.1257/jep.35.3.193.
A decade ago, the term “research transparency” was not on economists’ radar screen, but in a few short years a scholarly movement has emerged to bring new open science practices, tools and norms into the mainstream of our discipline. The goal of this article is to lay out the evidence on the adoption of these approaches – in three specific areas, open data, pre-registration and pre-analysis plans, and journal policies – and, more tentatively, begin to assess their impacts on the quality and credibility of economics research. The evidence to date indicates that economics (and related quantitative social science fields) are in a period of rapid transition toward new transparency-enhancing norms. While solid data on the benefits of these practices in economics is still limited, in part due to their relatively recent adoption, there is growing reason to believe that critics’ worst fears regarding onerous adoption costs have not been realized. Finally, the article presents a set of frontier questions and potential innovations.