Increasing Transparency and Open Science
To advance transparent, reproducible, and open science, GEP adopted the Transparency and Openness Promotion (TOP) Guidelines with modular standards that can be implemented at three levels of increasing stringency. GEP follows Tiers 2 and 3 of the TOP modules, with Tier 3 being the most rigorous option. GEP is currently among the top 10 journals (of all ranked journals) in implementing open science practices.
To implement the TOP Guidelines, GEP asks authors to
- confirm compliance with essential Open Science practices in the online submission system;
- include pertinent information in the main body of their manuscript (instructions are included in the submission template);
- answer questions from the consensus-based transparency checklist; responses will be disclosed for accepted manuscripts.
The following Table provides an overview of GEP’s transparency and openness policies. All articles that present empirical data (whether quantitative or qualitative) must adhere to these guidelines. GEP will check adherence to the adopted TOP standards and reject articles that don’t meet these standards. Further details about how GEP implements these standards can be found further down.
|Modular Standard||Implementation in GEP||Level|
|Citation Standard||If authors use existing data (e.g., secondary sources), programme code (e.g., R version used), and other materials (e.g., software), the article is not published until providing citation consistent with the author guidelines.||✓|
|Data Transparency||Data must be posted to a trusted repository. Exceptions must be identified at article submission.||✓|
|Analytical Methods Transparency||Code must be posted to a trusted repository. Exceptions must be identified at article submission.||✓|
|Research Materials Transparency||Materials must be posted to a trusted repository. Exceptions must be identified at article submission.||✓|
|Design and Analysis Transparency||Journal requires and enforces adherence to design transparency standards for review and publication.||✓|
|Pre-Registration of Studies||Article states whether pre-registration of study exists, and, if so, journal verifies adherence to pre-registered plan.||✓|
|Pre-Registration of Analysis Plans||Article states whether pre-registration with analysis plan exists, and, if so, journal verifies adherence to pre-registered plan.||✓|
|Replication||GEP encourages replications and they will be reviewed blind to results. GEP strongly recommends submitting replications as Registered Reports.||✓|
|Registered Reports & Publication Bias||GEP offers Registered Reports as a regular submission option.||✓|
|Open Science Badges||GEP awards the following Open Science badges: Open Data, Open Materials, and Pre-Registration.||✓|
Openness and Transparency on Published Papers
In the interest of transparency and openness, papers published in GEP will contain:
- Author names and details (including contributorship roles according to the CRediT System; also see the helpful tenzing tool)
- Special information on the paper (i.e., type, invited, part of paper collection)
- Abstract(s) and keywords (a second set are possible in an additional language)
- Plain-language summary (optional)
- URLs to Supplements on PsychArchives
- Open Science badges
- Handling editor name; total number of review rounds and reviewers; reviewer names (if opted in)
- Statements on funding, competing interests, other manuscript versions (e.g., PhD, conference papers), ethics, acknowledgements, and other issues
- Basic history (e.g., date of submission and acceptance)
- Available pre-publication peer-reviews as Supplements
Details About how TOP Standards are Implemented at GEP
GEP’s Open Science policies are described in more detail below. Guidelines for authors for how to implement these standards in their manuscripts can be found in the Submission Template.
1. Citation Standards
All data, code, scripts, syntax, materials, and other methods must be appropriately cited. As such, these materials are recognized as original intellectual contributions and afforded recognition through citation. Articles will not be published until the citations conform to these standards.
- All data sets and program code (e.g., from R scripts) used in a publication must be cited in the text and listed in the reference section (like any other reference).
- References for data sets and program code must include a persistent identifier, such as a DOI. Persistent identifiers ensure future access to unique published digital objects, such as a text or data set. Persistent identifiers are assigned to data sets by digital archives, such as institutional repositories and partners in the Data Preservation Alliance for the Social Sciences (Data-PASS). For data sets without a DOI, the URL should be included in the reference, like this: "Retrieved from http://www.icpsr.umich.edu/SDA/SAMHDA/30122-0001/CODEBOOK/conc.htm"
2-4. Data, Code, and Materials Transparency
The policy of GEP is to publish papers only if the data, methods used in the analysis, and materials used to conduct the research are clearly and precisely documented and are maximally available to any researcher for purposes of reproducing the results or replicating the procedure.
- Authors reusing data available from public repositories must provide program code, scripts for statistical packages, and other documentation sufficient to allow an informed researcher to precisely reproduce all published results. This should be done even if the reused data itself may not be shared.
- Authors using their own, original data must:
- Make the data available at a trusted digital repository such as PsychArchives. If all data required to reproduce the reported analyses appears in the article text, tables, and figures, then the data does not need to be posted separately.
- Include all variables, treatment conditions, and observations described in the manuscript
- Provide a full account of the procedures used to collect, pre-process, clean, or generate the data
- Provide program code, scripts, codebooks, and other documentation sufficient to precisely reproduce all published results
- Provide research materials and description of procedures necessary to conduct an independent replication of the research.
- The data are properly documented in a codebook that lists all the variable names in the dataset and explains what they contain
- In rare cases, despite authors’ best efforts, some or all data cannot be shared for legal or ethical reasons. In such cases, authors must inform the editors at the time of submission. This will be taken into account during the review process. Authors are encouraged to anticipate data sharing at the beginning of their projects and during ethical review to provide for these circumstances. It is understood that in some cases access will be provided under restrictions to protect confidential or proprietary information. Editors may grant exceptions to data and material access requirements provided authors:
- Explain the restrictions on the data set and why they preclude public access.
- Provide a public description of the steps others should follow to request access to the data or materials.
- Provide access to all data for which the constraints do not apply.
- Data, program code, research materials, and other documentation should be made available through a trusted repository. GEP prefers that authors use PsychArchives. It adheres to policies that make data discoverable, accessible, usable, and preserved for the long term. It also assigns unique and persistent identifiers. Such services are also offered by partners in the Data Preservation Alliance for the Social Sciences (Data-PASS) and most institutional repositories. However, additional repositories such as PsyArXiv may also be acceptable. Author-maintained websites are not compliant.
- Dissemination of these data may be delayed until publication. Under exceptional circumstances, editors may grant an embargo of the public release of data for at most one year after publication.
- Articles accepted for publication will not be assigned a publication date until the above conditions have been met. Authors are responsible for ensuring that their articles continue to meet these conditions. Failure to do so may lead to an editorial expression of concern or retraction of the article.
5. Design and Analysis Transparency
Authors are encouraged to follow APA’s Journal Article Reporting Standards (https://apastyle.apa.org/jars). Authors must disclose the following minimum information about the research design and data analysis. At manuscript submission, authors must confirm that they followed these standards. The journal, or an entity acting on behalf of the journal, will verify that the appropriate standards were adopted and followed. Failure to follow the relevant standards may result in the paper not being published.
- provide a rationale for how they determined the sample size;
- report the total number of excluded observations; if observations were excluded, report all data exclusion criteria;
- report all levels of all independent variables (manipulations / conditions / experimental groups);
- report all measures / dependent variables that were analysed for this article’s target research question;
- report estimates related to the reliability of measures (e.g., internal consistency, interrater reliability);
- report basic descriptive statistics of all variables that are used in the analyses (i.e. the number of cases, cell means, and standard deviations); this must be done for the total sample and each subgroup (e.g., cells in experimental designs).
- if using inferential tests: report all exact p values, effect sizes, and 95% CIs.
Authors who present qualitative research (https://apastyle.apa.org/jars/qual-table-1.pdf) must:
- provide the general context for the study (when data were collected, sites of data collection). If relevant for the study, this may include further information (e.g., geographical / historical / cultural information; power structure; norms; economic conditions; researchers’ perspectives).
- Provide a rationale for how they recruited (e.g., face-to-face, email) and selected their study participants (e.g., purposive or convenience sampling);
- describe the rationale for decision to halt data collection (e.g., saturation);
- report key details about the data collection process (form of data collection such as interviews, questionnaires, media, observation; interview guide, duration, extensiveness of engagement);
- describe data audio/visual recording methods, field notes, or transcription processes used;
- report key details for the data analysis process (analytic process, choices in relation to the study goals, coding strategy);
- demonstrate that findings are grounded in the evidence (e.g., using appropriate and clear quotes, excerpts, or descriptions);
Authors of mixed methods articles (https://apastyle.apa.org/jars/mixed-table-1.pdf) should additionally:
- Methods section: Describe the type of mixed methods design (e.g., convergent design, explanatory sequential design, and exploratory sequential design) used and define it using a major reference in the field.
- Methods section: Provide a rationale or justification for the need to collect both qualitative and quantitative data and the added value of integrating the results (findings) from the two databases.
- Methods and Results section: Devote separate sections to each analysis (quantitative, qualitative, mixed)
- Results section: Indicate how the qualitative and quantitative results were “mixed” or integrated (e.g., discussion; tables of joint displays; graphs).
- All sections should mirror the type of mixed methods design in terms of sequence (i.e., whether quantitative strand or qualitative strand comes first; if both are gathered at the same time, either qualitative findings or quantitative results could be presented first).
We realise that these requirements may not be applicable to all research designs and studies. If you believe your study should be exempted from a reporting requirement or if you believe that a different standard is more suitable (see https://apastyle.apa.org/jars/jars-quant-decision-flowchart.pdf), please state this in the Online Submission Form.
6 & 7. Study and Analysis Pre-Registration
The policy of GEP is to publish papers where authors indicate whether or not the conducted research was pre-registered with an analysis plan in an independent, institutional registry (e.g., PsychArchives, As Predicted, Clinical Trials (.gov), Social Science Registry, Open Science Framework, Evidence in Governance and Politics, International Development Impact Evaluations). GEP strongly recommends using PsychArchives as its official pre-registration registry, which will soon host the dedicated PreReg tool. Pre-registration of studies involves registering the study design, variables, and treatment conditions prior to conducting the research. Including an analysis plan involves specification of sequence of analyses or the statistical model that will be reported. A link to the frozen pre-registration at a registry must be made available to the journal prior to publication. The journal, or an entity acting on behalf of the journal, will verify that pre-registration adheres to the specifications for pre-registration and then provide certification of the pre-registration in the article (Open Science Badges).
- Authors must indicate if they did or did not pre-register the research with or without an analysis plan in an independent, institutional registry.
- If an author did pre-register the research with an analysis plan, the author must:
- Confirm that the study was registered prior to conducting the research with links to the time-stamped pre-registration at the institutional registry, and that the pre-registration adheres to the disclosure requirements of the institutional registry or those required for the pre-registered badge with analysis plans maintained by the Center for Open Science. Sometimes, analytic decisions have to be made after the pre-registration, like for unforeseen exclusions for data quality, technical errors, or changes to pre-registered tests like using a Spearman instead of Pearson correlation. The timing of all analytic decisions should be explicitly noted in the manuscript.
- Report all pre-registered analyses in the paper, or, if there were changes in the analysis plan following pre-registration, those changes must be disclosed with explanation for the changes.
- Clearly distinguish in the paper between analyses that were pre-registered from those that were not, such as having separate sections in the Results for confirmatory and exploratory analyses.
GEP explicitly welcomes replications important to environmental psychology. These replications may be “successful” or “unsuccessful” (see Nosek 2020), but they need to be well done and explain the type of replication (e.g., conceptual, direct), constraints on generality (Simons 2017), and how this specific replication adds to the literature. Replication papers will always be empirical, and can have basic or applied research questions with qualitative and/or quantitative data.
Authors who are still in the process of planning their replication are encouraged to use the Registered Report format (see below). If the study has already been conducted, GEP will use a two-stage submission process with the first being blind to results.
- On initial submission, authors should:
- State if the manuscript is a replication study.
- Include a complete abstract, introduction, and methods with a detailed analysis plan. The manuscript must not contain information about the outcome-relevant results.
- Outcome-irrelevant results can be reported to demonstrate, for example, that experimental manipulations were effective, or outcome variables were measured reliably and conformed to distributional assumptions.
- If the submission passes initial review, then the authors can submit a complete manuscript for second-stage review. This second review is to confirm that the final report adequately addresses reviewer concerns from the initial submission, evaluate the results and their reporting, and check whether the interpretation is appropriate given the results.
9. Registered Reports and Publication Bias
Authors can submit novel studies as Registered Reports (see specific instructions here). Registered Reports are reviewed in two stages (see also information from the Center for Open Science on this format here). Specifically, the first stage of review is conducted prior to any data being collected or, for existing data sets, before the data have been analysed and outcomes observed.
- On initial submission, authors should:
- Denote if the manuscript is a Registered Report submission and confirm that the data do not exist, or that the outcomes have not been observed yet.
- Include a complete abstract, introduction, and methods with a detailed analysis plan.
- If the submission passes initial review, then the authors will receive an in-principle acceptance prior to data collection or analysis of the outcomes.
- The study protocol and/or analysis plan (as well as the draft of the Registered Report proposal) should be pre-registered at PsychArchives.
- For the second stage of review, authors submit a complete manuscript. Reviewers assess the extent to which the authors followed the pre-registered design and/or analysis plan, and evaluate non-outcome relevant criteria (e.g., manipulation checks) to confirm whether the research was an effective test of the research question.