Boosting the reproducibility of research: Know-Center coordinates EU Project TIER2

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Recent years have seen perceptions of a “reproducibility crisis” grow in various disciplines. Scientists see poor levels of reproducibility as a severe threat to scientific self-correction, the efficiency of research processes, and societal trust in research results. A major Horizon Europe-funded project will study these issues and improve reproducibility across diverse scientific contexts: TIER2. The Know Center is excited to coordinate this project to enhance Trust, Integrity, and Efficiency in Research, through next-level Reproducibility (TIER2).

 

The Know Center coordinates TIER2 via the Open and Reproducible Research Group (ORRG), an interdisciplinary group that spans the Know Center and the Technological University of Graz. TIER2’s interdisciplinary, expert project team will use co-creative methods to work with social scientists, life and computer science researchers, research funders, and publishers to further understand and address the causes of poor reproducibility. The project will produce and test new tools, connect initiatives, engage communities, and test novel interventions to increase reuse and overall quality of research results. TIER2 Project Coordinator Tony Ross-Hellauer says, “The spectre of the “reproducibility crisis” has haunted meta-science and research policy conversations for years. Lots of valuable work has already been done, but much of the knowledge that we have, and targeted actions narrowly focus on specific fields, with piecemeal initiatives and limited alignment of strategic action across stakeholders and elements of research. TIER2 aims to expand our knowledge of these issues, their causes, and potential solutions across the research spectrum.

 

2 million Euros from the Horizon Europe program

TIER2 will launch in January 2023 and run until December 2025, with total funding of 2 million Euros provided by the EU’s Horizon Europe program and UK Research & Innovation. Dominik Kowald, Know-Center Research Area Manager, whose FAIR-AI Team will also contribute to TIER2, says, “Reproducibility is an underexplored theme in trustworthy and fair AI research, we are especially excited to investigate these issues in TIER2”.

 

The project

TIER2 will study reproducibility across diverse contexts by selecting three broad research areas and two cross-disciplinary stakeholder groups. The areas are the social, life, and computer sciences; meanwhile, the cross-disciplinary stakeholder groups are research publishers and funders. Reaching these contexts will allow the project team to systematically investigate the causes and implications of the lack of reproducibility across the research spectrum. Together with curated co-creation communities of these groups, the project will design, implement, and assess systematic interventions – addressing critical levers of change (tools, skills, communities, incentives, and policies) in the process

The project will start by thoroughly examining how the meanings and implications of reproducibility vary across research fields due to epistemic diversity (significant and systematic differences in concepts, problems, research objects, methodologies, and kinds of judgment). Next, TIER2 has the goal to build state-of-the-art evidence base, footed on the extent and efficacy of existing reproducibility interventions, practices, and an inventory of relevant tools, identifying critical gaps in current knowledge. TIER2 will use (co-creation) scenario-planning, backcasting, and user-centered design techniques to select, prioritize, design, adapt and implement new tools to enhance reproducibility across contexts. Alignment activities will ensure tools are EOSC-interoperable, while capacity-building actions with communities will facilitate awareness, skills, and community uptake. Finally, a systematic assessment of the efficacy of interventions across contexts will enable a synthesis of knowledge regarding reproducibility gains and savings. This assessment will inform a final roadmap for future reproducibility, including policy recommendations – co-created by stakeholders.

Through these activities, TIER2 aims to significantly boost knowledge on reproducibility, create tools, engage communities, and implement interventions and policies across different contexts. This will improve the reuse of resources and the quality of research results in the European research landscape and beyond – and increasing trust, integrity, and efficiency.

For more information, read the full project proposal, recently published via the Open Science journal RIO.

 

International partner consortium

The interdisciplinary TIER2 consortium comprises ten members from universities and research centers across Europe. They share a long history of successful cooperation and have extensive experience in completed EU projects, especially in the fields of Open Science, Research Integrity, and Science Policy.

TIER2 brings together a range of expertise in a consortium funded by the EU’s Horizon Europe program. These include experts in open science, research integrity, AI, data analytics, policy research, science infrastructures, stakeholder engagement, and core knowledge in social, life, and computational sciences. In addition to the Know Center, the expert consortium consists of Athena Research Center (GR), Amsterdam University Medical Center (NL), Aarhus University (DK), Pensoft Publishing (BG), GESIS Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences (DE), OpenAIRE (EU), Charité – University of Medicine Berlin (DE), Oxford University (UK), and Alexander Fleming Biomedical Sciences Research Center (GR).

 

 

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