NSFOpen Education ResourcesThe Research University (TRU)

Collaborative Research: Empowering Open Law and Science: University of Washington

Nicholas Weber

[email protected]

Research transparency provides immense value across all areas of scholarly inquiry by helping to reveal the rigor, reliability, and relevance of, and to make more evaluable, all types of research. Scholars who engage in qualitative inquiry sometimes find it difficult to make their work transparent, i.e. to clearly communicate the meticulous and systematic research procedures and practices that they employ to generate and analyze qualitative data, and to clearly portray the evidentiary value of those data. Annotation for Transparent Inquiry (ATI), an emerging approach to increasing the transparency of published qualitative and multi-method social science, helps to address those challenges. This project aims to develop and test a new software tool that will empower scholars to use ATI to reveal the procedures they followed to generate data, explicate the logic of their analysis, and directly link to underlying data such as interviews or archival documents. The tool will thus help researchers and the public to better understand and evaluate qualitative research and provide easier access to the rich data underlying such work. The partnership between researchers, academic data repositories, and creators of open-source software that the project represents should make a significant contribution to infrastructure for research and education. The project also encourages intellectual democratization, enhancing access to transparency practices, to key insights and findings in social science and legal scholarship, and to research data. <br/><br/>ATI empowers authors to annotate their publications using interoperable web-based annotations that add valuable details about their work?s evidentiary basis and analysis, excerpts from data sources that underlie claims, and potentially links to the data sources themselves. The prototype for a new open-source tool that the project will develop will allow scholars to Restructure, Edit and Package Annotations (Anno-REP). Anno-REP will empower scholars to create and curate web-based annotations at any point in the writing process; signal their motivation; and publish those annotations on a web page in tandem with the scholarly work that they accompany. These innovations will significantly ease the use of ATI and facilitate and encourage its seamless integration into the writing and publishing processes, promoting scientific progress through qualitative inquiry. The project will solicit feedback for Anno-REP?s continued development from ten scholars with familiarity with ATI, and will also evaluate the tool through a workshop including 20 legal scholars (faculty and graduate students). In order to promote the use and hasten the scholarly adoption of both ATI and Anno-REP, the project will encourage and help scholars to propose work that has been annotated using ATI and Anno-REP for presentation at disciplinary conferences. In addition, it will organize a symposium of articles that use, and analyze the use of, ATI for submission to, review by, and publication in a top legal journal.<br/><br/>This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

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