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Introducing the PLOS ONE-COS Cognitive Psychology Collection

PLOS ONE and the Center for Open Science are pleased to announce the publication of a Cognitive Psychology Collection. This Collection results from a Call for Papers launched last year that invited submissions in cognitive developmental psychology across the lifespan, with an emphasis on open science practices. 

The Call for Papers’ Guest Editors Benjamin Brown (Georgia Gwinnett College), Nivedita Mani (Georg-August-Universität Göttingen), and Ramesh Kumar Mishra (University of Hyderabad) curated this Collection.

As Guest Editor Benjamin Brown pointed out in the Call for Papers, “[d]evelopmental psychology has been slower to embrace the movement towards more research transparency that has been seen in other fields of psychology in recent years. To improve the replicability of our science, it is vital as a field that we adopt more transparent research practices such as preregistration and the sharing of materials, data, code, and preprints.” 

the small steps toward transparency and best practice that we take in successive projects not only make us more confident of the results we report but also make us calmer in planning projects.

Guest Editor Nivedita Mani 

Guest Editor Nivedita Mani and Mariella Paul, postdoctoral researcher in Nivi’s department, echoed this sentiment when they recounted in an interview their journey to more transparent and reproducible science, both in their own research and for the whole field, asserting that “the small steps toward transparency and best practice that we take in successive projects not only make us more confident of the results we report but also make us calmer in planning projects.”

The Call for Papers emphasized the importance of transparency in reporting and methodological rigor in cognitive psychology, especially with hard to reach populations, high variability in responses, and reduced attention during experiments. For that reason, the call particularly welcomed submissions for pre-registered studies or manuscripts with shared codes or data. We encouraged authors to include in their submission an Open Science Framework project page (more information on how to do that here) and to submit a preprint, for instance on PsyArxiv. This Call for Papers was also PLOS ONE’s first to call for Registered Report Protocols, then a new submission format at the journal. 

The open science practices taking place across so many disciplines highlight the broad importance of shared data or peer reviewed protocols in supporting such important research.

David Mellor, Director of Policy at the Center for Open Science

At this time, the Collection includes 21 studies. They span a large range of research topics and study types, from a proof-of-concept protocol for a mobile application for inhibitory control to a metacognitive social learning strategies study, an exploration of predictors of attentional functioning profiles in children, or experiments on context effects on decision making and processing under risk for adults and adolescents. 

“The open science practices taking place across so many disciplines highlight the broad importance of shared data or peer reviewed protocols in supporting such important research,” says David Mellor, Director of Policy at the Center for Open Science. “These are important examples of how open science helps everyone in the research community.”

This Collection highlights articles that best illustrate open science practices, such as a registered report protocol on improving the diagnostic accuracy of Alzheimer’s disease or a study on infants’ language acquisition that includes its data and R analysis script on its OSF page. 

Improving transparency in reporting also means publishing null or low-effect-size results. This Collection includes for instance a study—along with its experimental materials and code—where group competition did not influence children’s collaborative reasoning, or another article—with all its stimuli, data, and analysis files on its OSF page—suggesting that preschoolers do not have specifically biological expectations about animate agents

Papers will continue to be added to the Collection as they reach publication, so we invite you to revisit the Collection again for additional insights into reproducible and transparent research in cognitive developmental psychology.

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