An open letter about open research practices at IEEE VIS

Last week, with great disappointment, I resigned from the position of open practice co-chair for the IEEE VIS conference. I delayed this blog post by several days to avoid an uncourteous surprise public announcement. Here is my open letter: 

Dear VEC members, general chairs, and steering committee liaisons,

Thank you for the opportunity to serve as an inaugural open practice co-chair of the IEEE VIS conference. For the past several months, I have dedicated considerable time to increasing openness, accessibility, and transparency of visualization research published at VIS. Unfortunately, many of these efforts have been impeded without clear explanation, so I do not believe that continuing to serve in this role will be productive.

I cannot help inform the community if I am prevented from posting a chart of the current state of open research practices to the open practice page of the VIS website.
I cannot help educate or encourage the community if I am similarly prevented from posting a tutorial to the VIS website about sharing preprints via OSF, a persistent archive which also enables sharing of research materials, data, and preregistrations.
And I cannot help improve policy in the community if I am not consulted about a policy update that removes OSF from a list of approved preprint repositories, potentially implying that authors may not post to that repository.

Therefore, I have decided to resign from the open practice co-chair position, effective immediately. I will continue to promote openness, accessibility, and transparency in visualization research. And I hope that all of you will do so too.

Steve Haroz

I have compiled the various draft policies, guides, and FAQs on preprints, preregistration, open data, and open materials that I wrote with the help of many others. Hopefully, visualization researchers or other research communities will find some parts useful.

I will continue to run the unofficial Open Access VIS website to share and promote author versions of papers and open research practices in the field.

Authors: To make your VIS research available on Open Access VIS:

  1. Please post the author version of your paper on an open, persistent, and immutable archive such as OSF or arXiv (more info in chapter 5)
  2. Please post all experiment code and materials, all raw empirical data, and all code needed for computational reproducibility on an open, persistent, and immutable repository such as OSF (more info).
  3. Include any preregistration, material, or data URL in the paper, so it is discoverable.

Reviewers: You can help push the field to be more open and transparent. By signing the Peer Reviewers’ Openness (PRO) initiative, you can pledge to only accept a submission once it (a) shares any data and materials on an open, persistent, and immutable repository or (b) explicitly states why that information cannot be shared. Just as you would not accept a submission that does not describe its methods, ask whether you can review a submission that hides its data and materials.

Everyone: The credibility of scientific research is largely dependent on reports and evidence being accessible for scrutiny, reuse, and extension. Due in part to a culture of ignoring this value, whole fields have suffered crises of credibility. Given these stakes, don’t ask when you should start making research open. Ask why you are not starting now.

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