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March 6th, 2017:

Some thoughts on open science and the power of defaults

Tomorrow I’m driving out to St. Louis for four back-to-back related meetings. Genomes to Fields, Corn Breeding, MaizeGDB, and Maize Genetics Conference.

For the 3rd year in a row the Maize Genetics Conference is going to operate under an “opt in” social media policy. Unless people explicitly opt in, attendees are forbidden from discussing talks or posters on social media (presumably this include blogs). Seven years ago, at my second maize genetics conference ever, I would have been in violation of this policy (if it had existed at the time) because I wrote these two posts. I know one of the authors well and he’s never expressed any concern over that post, and, while I’ve only met the second author in passing, I’m guessing she wasn’t bothered by my post since she cited it in her masters defense announcement.

In principle opt-in and opt-out should give identical results, but we know from a number of natural experiments that this is not the case, and that changing between these two can be used as a small nudge to produce socially desirable outcomes. (more…)