Open science practices in demographic research: an appraisal
submitted: 15 November 2023 | last edited: 16 November 2023 (2023), unpublished
BACKGROUND: In the light of recent concerns about the reliability of scientific research, the open science movement has attracted considerable attention and interest from a variety of sources, including researchers, research institutions, the business industry, intergovernmental organizations, the media and the public. However, the current extent of openness in demographic research remains unknown.
METHODS: All relevant publications in four leading journals of anglophone demography -- Demography, Population and Development Review, Population Studies and Demographic Research -- over the last decade are analysed. Using a text search algorithm, two quantitative metrics of open scientific knowledge are estimated: the share of publications that can be openly accessed, and the share of publications providing openly available data and/or software codes.
RESULTS: Two contrasting patterns in these indicators emerge. Access to demographic research papers is increasingly available to everyone, with more than 90\% of Open Access publications in 2023. Conversely, the availability of open data and/or software codes is considerably low, ranging from an average of about 6-9\% in three journals to about 28\% in Demographic Research, with no overall signs of improvement over time.
CONTRIBUTION: This reflection provides the first assessment of the adoption of some open science practices in demographic research and their evolution during the last decade. An urgent change is needed in the sharing of data (when possible) and especially of software codes to contribute advancing demographic research. Some recommendations for fostering this change are discussed.