Worries About Negative Effects of Open Science on Your Career

Many scientists fear that Open Science may damage their scientific career. Among the diverse fears expressed are:

  • Open Access limits your freedom to publish in your preferred journal. The fact that several journals are already fully published in Open Access (and the tendency is increasing), means that there is definitely a choice for Open Access journals. Furthermore, a large proportion of the chargeable subscription journals offer “hybrid” Open Access. This allows authors to make their individual articles freely accessible to readers. In this way authors can choose from a variety of high-quality, reputable Open Access publication possibilities. It’s worth taking a look at these Open Access options and considering the general advantages of Open Access over and above the impact factor.
  • Other people will steal my intellectual property if I reveal my research results. There are no indications that the open exchange of data and publications leads to other people claiming your research ideas as their own. In order to take this fear into account, it is often possible for you to develop your results and not initially publish them, or only to a limited extent. There is sufficient protection from exploitation with a long but not unlimited timeframe (embargo period) in which you have the sole right to create exclusive value from your data. Furthermore, you can submit your study concept to a journal even before you begin the study using a preregistered report. If the report is accepted for publication, you can prove that the study methodology is yours. It is therefore also citable. One example from the field of economics is “Bridging the Gap: Evidence from externally hired CEOs”. At the same time, you should consider that stealing ideas is to some extent one of the fundamental pillars of science in general and Open Science in particular: Steal like a(n Open) Scientist.
  • Open Science distracts me from my central work of publishing research results in renowned journals. It’s true that Open Science can initially mean more effort at certain points, particularly if you are new to Open Science. At the same time, practicing Open Science can contribute to greater success when publishing in renowned journals, because those who practice Open Science are following good scientific practice and also make their own research results more easily replicable for others, including assessors and editors. It should generally be noted that Open Science does not damage your own scientific career as a rule. On the contrary, there are even indications that Open Science can promote your career “Individual benefits of Open Science”.