It is regrettable that APSA leadership issued a statement endorsing DA-RT at a time when a broad and very constructive discipline-wide conversation is only now beginning. We think this is premature and, as such, risks preempting rather than facilitating the kind of “deliberation, mutual trust and shared accommodation” that the presidents want to promote.
We do not see much indication in this statement that the presidents have engaged the legitimate concerns raised (e.g., in the thoughtful QMMR newsletter or in the recent petition) by our colleagues who confront very real conundrums in reconciling DA-RT transparency standards with ethical commitments to the protection of human subjects, the ability to publish out of original data sets without being required to share them too early, the logistical burden placed particularly on young scholars and by scholars at non-elite universities, and other concerns. Instead, we note with disappointment that the justification offered for embracing DA-RT relies almost exclusively on a few references to egregious cases of flagrant ethics violations that all of us can of course agree are to be avoided and that in any event are well covered by the existing Ethics guidelines. If there is one thing that the discussion of DA-RT has already made very clear, it is that the issues are a great deal more nuanced and complex than that.
Fortunately, there is a substantive on-going process to deliberate on these issues, investigating what the guidelines should be for issues such as the incentives for young scholars to create their own datasets, and the kinds of research materials, if any, that scholars engaged in immersive research may be required to deposit.
Our approach to this issue is thus different from that of the presidents. Rather than take sides in a process that is underway, we reiterate our request that the journals hold off until some of these issues can be deliberated more adequately in the profession. The Qualitative and Multi-Method Research organized section is launching a wide-ranging and structured deliberation within the profession and we look forward to discussing the results at the next annual meeting. We believe that any significant implementation before such issues have been more fully deliberated is premature and potentially divisive.
Nancy Hirschmann, Mala Htun, Jane Mansbridge, Kathleen Thelen, Lisa Wedeen, and Elisabeth Wood
In a letter posted today on the PS Now website, APSA president Jennifer Hochschild, President-elect David Lake, and former president Rodney Hero affirm that APSR will begin to implement DA-RT in January 2016.
Below is text of the message sent by CPS editors to the board on November 20, 2015:
Dear Members of the CPS Editorial Board:
Our recent conversations have been driven by the goals of promoting research transparency in general and signaling that CPS welcomes qualitative research. Many members of the board expressed support for our efforts – but many also raised important questions and concerns, including a possible tension between both objectives. Not surprisingly these echo concerns colleagues across the discipline have expressed about the DA-RT initiative.
We have decided to do two things. First, we have concluded that it is in the journal’s best interests to put off posting any new guidelines or suggestions pertaining to data access and research transparency, beyond what we already require (deposit of data and code for all statistical analyses a paper presents). We understand that APSA’s QMMR section – as well as others – will be working on these issues over the next year or so, and look forward to hearing from these expert colleagues in the future about best practices.
Second, we have decided to post new “author and reviewer recommendations” that articulate what we regard as central issues in evaluating submissions – of any methodology – to CPS. We do so because many authors (and reviewers) ask us what it takes to get published in CPS, and this list provides a general sense of the qualities that are common to strong papers, whatever the method used. A draft is attached. Our plan is to 1) post these to the CPS submissions page by January 2016 and 2) include these in the email sent to all reviewers. We welcome suggested changes and/or additions or deletions.
Thanks to all who have contributed to this important discussion.
Ben and David
David Art writes: “I admit to being blissfully unaware of this debate until I woke up to find that a faction of political scientists had succeeded in getting the center of gravity of journal publication to shift dramatically in their favor, at least for the moment. The comments from other colleagues have been valuable and I would like to offer a few remarks. My conclusion—stemming from a core principle that regulating the marketplace of ideas requires a justification more robust than those offered by proponents of DA-RT—is that withdrawing from this “agreement” would be a good idea and clear sign to the rest of the field that comparativists are not up for replaying the debates of the previous several decades. Or at least I am not.” Read his full comments here.
On November 17, APSA President Jennifer Hochschild posted the following comment:
With her permission, I sent Kristie Monroe’s blog post of Nov. 11, describing several research projects for which it would be difficult to comply with mandates for transparency, to John Ishiyama. I asked him to comment on her concerns from the perspective of an APSR editor, under the forthcoming DA-RT guidelines for the APSR. Here is his response, which he gave me permission to post here:
“I think that all of the situations that were described by Kristie can easily be handled under the guidelines as they are currently written [a draft is to be posted soon]. If they are expressed in these terms, these can certainly be considered exceptions, and the editors can certainly grant an exception in these cases (especially if authors explain the reasoning as well as Kristie has). Enough flexibility is built in to deal with these situations. Importantly no one will be desk rejected for the reasons that Kristie has mentioned.”
The online publication Inside Higher Ed published an article on November 16 about DA-RT and the petition to journal editors to delay implementation. It includes quotes from Lupia, Jacoby, Patty, and Hirschmann.
1,173 political scientists, including 10 former APSA presidents, signed the petition sent on November 12 to JETS editors requesting a delay in the implementation of DA-RT . Please check this website for updates. Find the petition and names of signatories here.