The processes, procedures and materials used in research studies and investigation are known as methods. Methods include study designs, protocols, software codes, lab materials and lab reagents. Making methods open, transparent, and accessible to the public is known as Open Methods. Open methods promote trust, reproducibility and reusability.
Reference: Public Library of Science (PLOS). Open Methods.
1. Increases trust and integrity of your work.
When your methods are open and transparent, other researchers can examine and scrutinise your research studies. They can gain a deeper understanding of your results and critique them. This lead to greater appreciation and trust of your research findings and enhances the integrity of your work.
2. Ensures reproducibility and verification of your work.
Keeping your methods open and transparent allows other researchers to reproduce and verify your results. It also reduces the amount of trial and error along the way.
3. Promotes reusability and transcend barriers.
Once other researchers understand your methods, they can reuse them or adapt them in different contexts and across a broad range of research questions and disciplines. Articles on methods tend to be highly cited and attract readers and citations for a longer period than standard research articles.
Reference: Public Library of Science (PLOS). Why methods matter.
Keeping your methods clear and transparent impacts readers’ understanding and editorial evaluation of your work. This is the backbone of integrity, reproducibility, and reusability. Below are some advice for ensuring that your methods are open.
1. Remember that your methods section serves two audience. The first is to help readers understand your study and the second is to help other researchers replicate your work.
2. Always provide sufficient details in your study so that other researchers can replicate it, even though a particular journal does not require it.
3. Imagine yourself replicating the study some years in the future. You will need to ensure that the details in your methods section are sufficient so that you will be able to reproduce your work again.
4. Consider making your methods clearer using visual aids such as flow charts, decision trees, checklists, graphs, summary tables, sketches, models, etc.
5. Adhere to ethical standards and reporting guidelines when writing your methods section, for your discipline.
Reference: Public Library of Science (PLOS). How to Write Your Methods.
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