Sanjay Srivastava: Statement
I am passionate about improving openness and transparency in our science. I am also passionate about increasing diversity and inclusion in our field and our work. When I talk to researchers who care about these issues, especially early-career researchers, there is a common theme: concern that they will not be professionally recognized for doing work that reflects and embodies these values. As SPSP president, I would look for ways that the organization could help make professional incentives better aligned with openness, rigor, diversity, and inclusion.
What would that look like? One way is to communicate to universities, funders, and other stakeholders what excellent work in social and personality psychology looks like and how to evaluate us in professional advancement. Administrators understand that each profession has its own standards, and SPSP can use its authority to help move those forward. As president, I would establish an SPSP task force on aligning professional evaluation with open and diverse science. Doing high-quality work requires time and expertise, and we need to communicate how to recognize that in hiring, tenure, promotion, and other professional milestones. We would not be alone in this: other organizations like the National Academies are addressing open science in professional evaluation, which we could learn from and potentially partner with while reflecting our field’s priorities. There are also easy opportunities to partner with other organizations. For instance, SPSP could sign the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment, which communicates that scientists should be evaluated on the quality of their actual research—not surrogate metrics like journal impact factors, which disadvantage researchers who study non-mainstream topics and populations.
A second, more direct way that SPSP can align incentives with best practices is through the policies we set at our journals. I was pleased to learn that the SPSP Executive Board recently created a task force to implement the Transparency and Openness Promotion (TOP) guidelines. We should continue to push forward and take a leadership role in scientific publishing, and our journals should be preferred outlets for researchers who are embracing transparent research practices and studying diverse populations and issues. There are many more innovations we should be considering. For example, our journals are overdue to offer registered reports as a routine publication option. We can implement that in a way that not only encourages high-powered studies with conventional samples, as other journals have done, but also embraces research with smaller but more diverse samples that are harder to collect. In addition, SPSP’s journals could partner with a preprint service, so that through the publishing workflow, the work we do that is relevant to diverse communities is made easily available to them as “green open access” without a paywall.
Our field has changed a lot in the time I have been in it, and the pace of change has only accelerated over the past decade. I believe that SPSP has an exciting opportunity to direct those changes in a meaningful, positive, and lasting direction, and I would be honored to contribute to that progress.