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Open Science Survey Methodology

The Open Science survey is part of a project titled ‘Open Science for an Innovative India’. The primary purpose of the survey is to gain more insights on attitudes and sharing practices of Indian researchers with respect to issues like open access, open science, transparency, reproducibility, and collaborations.   

PHASE I

The first phase of the survey was conducted between January 21st, 2017 and  June 21st, 2017. The survey instrument was a questionnaire containing 45 questions in English. It was divided into nine sections- basic information, open access, open science, collaborations, transparency, accessibility, reproducibility, legal and policy measures, and institutional practices. The full questionnaire used for Phase I of the survey may be accessed here.

Sampling

Due to feasibility concerns, we restricted the sample to a limited number of disciplines and institutions. The fields of Economics, Law, Mechanical Engineering, Medicine, and Physics were selected in this regard to ensure diversity. Upon selection of these disciplines, we tried to identify the top three institutions in these fields, in terms of research outputs and quality of faculty. Since many of the existing ranking systems have serious methodological limitations, we adopted an alternative approach in this regard. Three researchers from every one of these fields were requested to rank top institutions in their area. In cases where uniformity was observed in the responses, we selected those institutions. In cases where we observed differences of opinion among the researchers, we approached more researchers until a majority opinion was observed. However, for one discipline (Physics), despite these efforts, there was consensus only with regard to two institutions. The researchers working in the selected institutions were identified using the respective institutional websites, and their email addresses were collected from there.

An online link to the survey questionnaire was sent through an online platform (Survey Monkey) to the above identified sample. In cases of low responses, we contacted the institutional heads for permission to conduct the survey on campus. Our team members made personal visits to those campuses where permission was granted. During those visits, some respondents filled the physical copies of the questionnaire, while others preferred to complete the survey online due to environmental concerns or paucity of time.

Survey results

The data from the first phase of the survey (excluding those that may reveal the identity of the respondents) can be accessed here. A presentation that provides an overview of some of the results can be accessed here.

PHASE II

In Phase II of our survey, we have decided to expand the scope of the survey to include researchers from any discipline and any institution located in India. The sampling approach for Phase II is therefore different from that in Phase I; we are using a single open web link for collecting responses. Although the survey instrument is essentially the same as the one used in Phase I, we have made slight modifications to accommodate more disciplines and also to correct some errors observed in the questionnaire used in Phase I.

Phase II of our Open Science Survey is currently underway, and all researchers working in institutions located in India are invited to participate in it. The survey link may be accessed here.