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Open Synthesis: on the need for evidence synthesis to embrace Open Science

Haddaway, Neal R.
Environmental evidence 2018 v.7 no.1 pp. 26
concrete, data collection, systematic review
The Open Science movement can be broadly summarised as aiming to promote integrity, repeatability and transparency across all aspects of research, from data collection to publication. Systematic reviews and systematic maps aim to provide a reliable synthesis of the evidence on a particular topic, making use of methods that seek to maximise repeatability and comprehensives whilst minimising subjectivity and bias. The central tenet of repeatability is operationalised by transparently reporting methodological activities in detail, such that all actions could be replicated and verified. To date, evidence synthesis has only partially embraced Open Science, typically striving for Open Methodology and Open Access, and occasionally providing sufficient information to be considered to have Open Data for some published reviews. Evidence synthesis communities needs to better embrace Open Science not only to balance knowledge access and increase efficiency, but also to increase reliability, trust and reuse of information collected and synthesised within a review: concepts fundamental to systematic reviews and maps. All aspects of Open Science should be embraced: Open Methodology, Open Data, Open Source and Open Access. In doing so, evidence synthesis can be made more equal, more efficient and more trustworthy. I provide concrete recommendations of how CEE and others can fully embrace Open Synthesis.