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What You See Is What You Get

Herman Aguinis, Ravi Ramani and Nawaf Alabduljader 

Academy of Management Annals September 2017, annals.2016.0011; 


We review the literature on evidence-based best practices on how to enhance methodological transparency, which is the degree of detail and disclosure about the specific steps, decisions, and judgment calls made during a scientific study. We conceptualize lack of transparency as a "research performance problem" because it masks fraudulent acts, serious errors, and questionable research practices, and therefore precludes inferential and results reproducibility. Our recommendations for authors provide guidance on how to increase transparency at each stage of the research process: (1) theory, (2) design, (3) measurement, (4) analysis, and (5) reporting of results. We also offer recommendations for journal editors, reviewers, and publishers on how to motivate authors to be more transparent. We group these recommendations into the following categories: (1) manuscript submission forms requiring authors to certify they have taken actions to enhance transparency, (2) manuscript evaluation forms including additional items to encourage reviewers to assess the degree of transparency, and (3) review process improvements to enhance transparency. Taken together, our recommendations provide a resource for doctoral education and training; researchers conducting empirical studies; journal editors and reviewers evaluating submissions; and journals, publishers, and professional organizations interested in enhancing the credibility and trustworthiness of research.

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