Speak Your Mind: TOP Guidelines Feedback

PAR’s transparency and openness guidelines – asking for your feedback


“Speak Your Mind” is a PAR webpage feature that allows you to offer insights about big questions in public administration. The responses serve as a community forum for discussion of specific editorial contributions, and the format provides a platform for exchange of different ideas about how we think of public administration as a professional and scholarly enterprise.

Dear Members of the Public Administration Review Community,

Deanna Malatesta and I are excited to share with you the most recent draft of PAR’s transparency and openness guidelines.  With this initiative, supported by both the current and the incoming Editors-in-Chief, Public Administration Review is taking the lead in our field in moving toward more open research.  Over time, this will help enhance the quality of public administration research and improve its potential of informing practice.

In June 2016, Public Administration Review (PAR) Associate Editor Lars Tummers wrote an essay titled “Moving towards an Open Research Culture in Public Administration.”  The essay highlighted the benefits of encouraging more openness about the different stages of research projects.  It appeared on PAR’s “Speak your Mind” web page and led to useful feedback.  You can read the essay and feedback here:

Essay: https://publicadministrationreview.org/speak-your-mind-article/

Feedback: https://publicadministrationreview.org/top-guidelines/

In October 2016, PAR’s Editor-in-Chief Jim Perry signed the Center for Open Science’s Transparency and Openness Promotion Guidelines, which committed PAR to developing its own guidelines within one year’s time.  To assist in the effort, Professor Perry appointed Deanna Malatesta and myself as Transparency and Openness Promotion Editors.  We then began to develop guidelines appropriate to the journal and field.  The attached document incorporates our work to date.

Read Professor Perry’s editorial here: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/puar.12705/full

We invite you to read the draft guidelines, which you find in the PDF that is linked below.  And we would like to gather your feedback.  If you have any comments or suggestions, please leave a comment below or email Nick.  We value your feedback and will incorporate it in the final version of the guidelines (after discussing it with the current and incoming Editors-in-Chief).

Link to PDF: PAR transparency guidelines

Please post a comment on “Speak Your Mind” or email comments and suggestions to Nick at nicolai.petrovsky@gmail.com (or tweet at me: @pedroniquito ) by Friday, June 30, 2017.  I will acknowledge receipt of every comment.  It may take me a few days as I will be traveling for much of this time.

Deanna and I very much look forward to your input!

Thank you very much for your time.



Nick Petrovsky

Martin School of Public Policy & Administration, University of Kentucky

Public Administration Review Transparency and Openness Promotion Editor

One response

  1. As an empirical researcher who has had an article replicated with the same data I used, I am in favor of open data and transparency. I see these as two separate things. To me the most important transparency issues, in order of importance are:
    1. Publication of important (quantitive) findings where the true hypothesis is that the null cannot be rejected. Or, at least, that this is the finding.
    2. Publication of replication, or repeated examination studies.
    3. Open data.

    For the first topic, I recommend that PAR (and other public administration related journals) commit to using 10-25% of their research publication space for articles of this sort. This commitment would encourage researchers to pursue topics where they have a suspicion that some policy, practice, or other potential cause/correlate has no discernable effect/correlation and to pursue publication even when the expected result is not found. Such pursuit would not be limited to the spare time of fully promoted professors.

    For the second topic:
    With respect to replication, clear benefits are: 1. Verifying that the results are as reported. 2. Validating information about the data. 3. Keeping researchers honest.

    With respect to repeated examination, I tire of responding to the question: “What is the new contribution?” There are at least three reasons why every study should be repeated quite a few times: 1. Repeated may be as close as one can get to replication. 2. Human subjects may be notably variable; even with the highest quality research methods, one study is insufficient to settle any matter about them. Further, studies may not use random sampling across the entire universe over which the researcher wishes to imply the results can be generalized. The researcher may use cautious words to account for this lack of generalizability, but in the absence of repeated studies, the results may be treated as more generalizable than they really are. As a notable example, revenue forecasting bias differs in different regions and it differs with respect to jurisdictions that face different fiscal realities. Without repeated studies, this fact may not be discovered. 3. Results may not hold up over time.

    For the third topic, while open data is, in principle, desirable, it is incumbent on its proponents to address the potentially substantial obstacles:
    1. Researchers may not have access to an appropriate platform.
    2. Junior researchers may fear the loss of control over data that is key to their tenure and promotion.
    3. Data may be restricted due to human subjects requirements.
    4. Preparation of data for publication on an open platform may be time-consuming and costly. The social sciences are generally not as well funded as the physical sciences; consequently, this barrier may be particularly hard to overcome.

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