Archive for

open science

December 4, 2019

Where the magic happens: Pre-registration for qualitative research

By Daan Rutten

For anyone who does not think pre-registration could be helpful for qualitative studies, for instance in the fields of Humanities and Law: maybe it is time to reconsider.

As a former researcher in the field of Humanities, I must admit that pre-registration was not a concern at all. Most colleagues and I thought it was only suited for quantitative research projects. In quantitative and empirical projects, it is more likely that scholars use very accurate hypotheses and sharply defined datasets. When this is the case, it definitely makes sense to pre-register your research design. Others will be able to check your preliminary plan, which counters the temptation to manipulate hypotheses during the scientific cycle in such a way they ‘magically’ start to make sense. You do not have to be trained in scientific ethics to understand what happens when scientists reconstruct their hypothesis a posteriori so that it fits seamlessly with the specifically collected dataset, instead of the other way around.

Photo by Álvaro Serrano on Unsplash

Photo by Álvaro Serrano on Unsplash

In qualitative studies, it is not so much about verifying or falsifying hypotheses with a simple true (H=1) or false (H=0). Theory is not something to be tested, it functions more like a pair of glasses, a lens highlighting a specific part of data (or ‘corpus’) that is under scrutiny, while inevitably obscuring other parts. In Humanities, we understand theory more in the traditional Greek sense of the word: not a truth that is ‘out there’ and just needs disclosure, but ‘a way of seeing’. A multiplicity of theories can work at the same time and highlight various aspects of the same object. It is a continuous process of interpretation to see which notion or concept will prove to be most informative and appealing to explain what happens in for instance an artwork, an event, a small community or another singular object. I know PhD students who magically ‘found’ their theory in the final couple of weeks and had to do some frenetic revising before handing their dissertation to the committee. This magic is not manipulation here, but the crucial, qualitative step that elevates the collection of ideas and discoveries to a whole that is more than just the sum of its parts, a true thesis that changes the way we look at this certain idiosyncratic part of reality.

One might argue that ‘pre-registration’ makes no sense here, but sociologist Leonie van Grootel (TSB) rebutted this during an Open Science Skills Course held recently in the Library of Tilburg University. She confirms that qualitative research typically is more flexible and subjective and that it is not so much about prediction but postdiction. Nonetheless, she does think that pre-registration also renders qualitative research more credible. Making hypotheses explicit is only one feature of pre-registration, but much more important is that there is a certain track record of the major decisions taken by the researcher along the way. When this log can be found in the open, for instance on the Open Science Framework (OSF), others can tap into the discussion, make suggestions, or learn and (re)consider their own choices for theories and concepts. Pre-registration also prevents others from stealing your ideas, because you can ‘claim’ it in a very early stage of your project. Her arguments for pre-registration in qualitative studies can be found in this article (written together with Tamarinde Haven).

I figured that pre-registering possibly could have disproved the remarks made by a critic of the dissertation I finished a couple of years ago. He argued that the theory I used fitted so neatly that it made him somewhat suspicious. What he did not and could not know, is that I experimented with a whole variety of aesthetical philosophies before getting to this result. If I could do it again, I would have done so with the tailor-made pre-registration form for qualitative studies made by Grootel and Haven.

October 9, 2019

Workshop: Pre-registration for qualitative research

By Daan Rutten

Dr. Leonie van Grootel (TSB) will give a workshop on pre-registration for qualitative research on November 6, 2019. This workshop is organized by the Tilburg Open Science Community and LIS Research Support.

Pre-registration is an open science practice to avoid p-hacking and other questionable research practices. The method is more common within fields of quantitative studies. This workshop investigates whether the pre-registration format could also be used to boost the credibility of qualitative research, for instance in the fields of Humanities and Law.

Some may object to the idea of pre-registering qualitative studies because qualitative research generally does not test hypotheses, and because qualitative research design is typically flexible and subjective. Van Grootel rebuts these objections, arguing that making hypotheses explicit is just one feature of pre-registration, that flexibility can be tracked using pre-registration and that pre-registration would provide a check on subjectivity.

Researchers of Tilburg University (in any stage of their career) are welcome to register and attend. It promises to be extra interesting for scholars in Law, Communication & Culture Studies, Philosophy and Cultural Sociology.

  • When: November 6, 2019: 15.00-16.30 hrs.
  • Where: L 104
  • Registration: by sending an e-mail to Daan Rutten,

This information is also available on

September 17, 2019

Join the Big Do-it-Yourself Publishing Event, October 22, 2019

By Marijke van der Ploeg

Some rogues and rebels among our Tilburg University researchers decided to circumvent the power of the established scientific system of truth-finding, publishing and reviewing, and to make a radical move towards ‘Open Science’ and ‘Open Access’. They started publishing their scientific papers by themselves. What can we learn from them? How can you join in? What does this all mean for the quality and truthfulness of academic publishing?

Join this do-it-your-self publishing event with a panel of self-publishing scholars who will share with the audience their views on self-publishing, open access, and the future of academic books, articles, and education.

  • Michiel de Jong helps scholars publish their own open textbooks at TU Delft.
  • Jan Blommaert and Ico Maly (both TSHD) will talk about their project focused on writing and producing Open Books.
  • Aaron Martin is a postdoc (TLS) and managing director of TechReg, a brand-new full OA-journal founded at Tilburg University.
  • Rima Rahal is  a psychologist (TSB) experimenting with a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC).
  • Marino van Zelst and Hans van Dijk (both TSB) are venturing to establish a completely new publishing system that radically puts power back in the hands of the scientific community.

This event is an initiative of the Open Science Community of Tilburg UniversityLibrary Research Support and Academic Forum.

Visit the event web page for more details.

June 20, 2018

Tilburg University Dataverse receives CoreTrustSeal certification

By Petra Ploeg

On April 27, Tilburg University Dataverse obtained an international data quality mark, the CoreTrustSeal. Tilburg University Dataverse is the central repository for research data within Tilburg University. Many research groups are already using the repository.

CoreTrustSeal is an international quality mark for data repositories that stands for sustainability, reliability, and accessibility. The quality mark guarantees that the data in Tilburg University Dataverse are stored safely and sustainable, and that they have been assessed on a number of quality criteria. For sustainable storage of research data for more than ten years, a partnership has been established with the online archiving system EASY of the Dutch data institute DANS (Data Archiving and Networked Services). EASY is also CoreTrustSeal certified.

Logo CoreTrustSeal

Importance of the quality mark for the university

Corno Vromans, director of Library and IT Services (LIS): “The CoreTrustSeal indicates to researchers and to the outside world that the sustainability and reliability of Tilburg research data are guaranteed. Funders such as NWO, ZonMW, and ERC often require that researchers submit their data in a trustworthy repository. They can now do so in Tilburg University Dataverse, and, if so desired, our staff can provide support. The CoreTrustSeal is also important for the implementation of the university’s Research Data Management regulations. For us, the quality mark is a recognition that we are doing a good job.”

A total of 17 CoreTrustSeals have been awarded in the Netherlands. Tilburg University Dataverse is the first institution within the Dutch Dataverse network to obtain the quality mark. The full list can be found at

More information

For any questions, please contact the Research Data Office:

March 27, 2018

Lunch workshop on archiving research data on April 5, 2018

By Eric van den Akker

Do you want to store your research data in a research data repository? Did you hear of Dataverse, and want to know more of it? Or do you want to upload data in Dataverse, but don’t know how to start?

The Research Data Office organizes this lunch lecture to let you get acquainted to the national DataverseNL repository, and the Tilburg University Dataverse subparts of it. You’ll learn what dataverses and datasets are, how to add metadata and data, how (not) to share your data, and how to make sure your data can be found, accessed and reused by other researchers.

  • No earlier knowledge on data management, data repositories or Dataverse is required.
  • This module is given by Eric van den Akker (
  • The workshop will be given in groups up to 18 participants. There will be room for questions and discussions.
  • The workshop is given in English.
  • Coffee and tea will be provided.

Target group
PhD, postdoc, and other researchers.

Date & Location
Thursday April 5, 2018 from 12.45-13.45 hrs. in L 104

Registration and costs

  • This workshop is free of charge. Registration is required because the number of participants per session is limited. Workshops will be canceled 48 hours in advance if there are no registered participants.
  • If you cannot attend a workshop for which you have already registered, we kindly ask you to inform us as soon as possible by sending an email.
  • You can sign in or out via


March 15, 2018

Nominations Dutch Data Prize possible until July 1, 2018

By Petra Ploeg









This year the biennial Dutch Data Prize will be awarded for the fifth time to a scientist or research group that has made an extraordinary contribution to science by making research data available for additional or new research. Researchers can nominate themselves, another researcher or a research group.

The deadline for nominations is July 1st. The award ceremony will be held at the end of 2018.

Just as in 2016, there will be a Data Prize in three categories: humanities & social sciences; exact & technical sciences and medical & life sciences.

The criteria for nomination

In order to be eligible for the Dutch Data Prize, the nominee’s data must meet the following conditions:

  • The data must be in a ‘trustworthy digital repository’;
  • The data are available on the basis of open access or the documentation of the dataset explains why open access is not possible and under which conditions interested parties can get access to the data.
  • The data, or the research potential enabled by them, must be of (inter)national importance;
  • The data must facilitate answering new research questions or identify new answers to old questions;
  • The manager or depositor of the data has made efforts to ensure that the data will be accessible and usable for others in the long term (for example demonstrated by high-quality metadata/documentation);
  • The data must be used extensively, or have this potential.

For more information about the Dutch Data Prize 2018 please visit Research Data Netherlands (RDNL), a national coalition of data archives consisting of 4TU.ResearchData, SURFsara and KNAW DANS.

Tilburg University Data Repository

TiU Dataverse is the central repository for research data at Tilburg University. The TiU Dataverse is managed by the Research Data Office (RDO) at Library and IT Services (LIS). If you have any questions about the TiU Dataverse, please contact

March 8, 2018

Tilburg University Action Plan on Open Science

By Marijke van der Ploeg


On February 9, the University Council has approved with the Tilburg University Action Plan on Open Science. Tilburg University wants to be a front runner in the international Open Science movement. The action plan therefore aims to develop activities to stimulate researchers to bring Open Science into practice. We had a short talk with Hylke Annema, author of the action plan, to give some more details.

Why is an action plan for Open Science important for Tilburg University?

With Open Science we can make the results of our scientific research accessible to all levels of society, not only academic, but also amateur and professional. This is in line with the university’s motto Understanding Society. Open Science also aims to make the academic process more transparent which is good for reproducibility of research, but is also a necessity when it comes to research integrity. We don’t have a tradition of Open Science at Tilburg University, that’s why it is good and necessary to put more focus on it in the coming years.

What concrete actions are in the plan?

We will start a number of Open Science labs. These are incubator projects, with a duration of four years, in which we aim to gain maximum results with small tryouts. When a lab has proven to be successful, the results can be used by other researchers or departments. TILT, the Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology, and Society, will launch their own Law & Technology Open Access journal. This will involve a lot of work, as the traditional publishing model is still so dominant. If we succeed however, other departments could also launch their own journal based on the experiences of TILT. Another lab will focus on Open Educational Materials, for example by sharing slides used in classrooms. These materials could potentially replace expensive text books, thereby making education more accessible for everyone.

How can researchers participate?

Anyone interested can contact me. I’d be happy to talk about the plan or give a presentation at the school or department. This spring, we will also launch the informal Tilburg University Open Science Network. Anyone interested to learn more about Open Science or to discuss how to change the research practice is invited to join. We offer an open and informal setting without hierarchy to discover how to leverage open to improve your research.

What if someone has a great idea to improve Open Science which is not in the plan?

First of all, just start your idea, implement it in your own research or education or share it with colleagues. You can also contact me to see if we can work it out into a larger project. We have a small budget available for pilots and incubator projects, so please reach out with your idea, and we will discuss your options.

Any last words?

The action plan can be found on: I hope researchers will read it and that it will inspire them to engage in open research practices. Remember: science without open is just anecdote!

You can contact Hylke Annema on



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Posts on research data management, open access publishing, copyright, and access to scientific information. For Tilburg University researchers - by the Research Support department of Library and IT Services. Read More