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Behaviour change to increase Open Science

Health Sciences

About the Project

‘Open Science’ refers to concepts of openness, transparency and reproducibility in research, seeking to make research more reproducible by other researchers and to open up research beyond the ‘ivory towers’ of academia. Open Science behaviours include pre-registering your research (specifying in advance the methods and analysis plan), making your data and code open and your published results available to all via Open Access. However, well-documented barriers exist to researchers adopting Open Science behaviours, such as novelty rather than replication being seen as more valued, a steep learning curve for some behaviours such as learning new open software and lack of incentives. Evidence from behaviour change research has a key, untapped potential to assist in improving the adoption and maintenance of good Open Science practices (Norris & O’Connor, 2019). As a multidisciplinary field, behaviour change provides a plethora of theories and approaches across psychology, sociology and economics that have been applied to diverse behaviours across health, education, finance and beyond (Michie, West, Campbell, Brown, & Gainforth, 2014).

This PhD will use behaviour change theory and frameworks to develop and test interventions to increase Open Science behaviours. Methods used in this PhD could include use of qualitative or questionnaire methods to understand the barriers and facilitators to specific Open Science behaviours, as well as development and evaluation of interventions using frameworks such as the Behaviour Change Wheel. Applicants interested in pursuing this project would ideally have a passion and evidenced experience in Open Science, accompanied by a strong background in behaviour change, psychology or behavioural science more broadly, meta-research or evidence synthesis.

Funding Notes

Brunel offers a number of funding options to research students that help cover the cost of their tuition fees, contribute to living expenses or both. See more information here: View Website. Recently the UK Government made available the Doctoral Student Loans of up to £25,000 for UK and EU students and there is some funding available through the Research Councils. Many of our international students benefit from funding provided by their governments or employers. Brunel alumni enjoy tuition fee discounts of 15%.)


Kathawalla, U-K, Silverstein, P. & Syed, M. (2020). Easing into Open Science: A Tutorial for Graduate Students.

Michie, S. F., West, R., Campbell, R., Brown, J., & Gainforth, H. (2014). ABC of behaviour change theories. Silverback Publishing.

Munafò, M. R., Nosek, B. A., Bishop, D. V., Button, K. S., Chambers, C. D., Du Sert, N. P., ... & Ioannidis, J. P. (2017). A manifesto for reproducible science. Nature Human Behaviour, 1(1), 1-9.

Norris, E. & O’Connor, D. (2019). Science as behaviour: Using a behaviour change approach to increase uptake of Open Science. Psychology & Health.

Norris, E., Loh, R., He, S., West, R. & Michie, S. (2020). Estimating the reproducibility and transparency of smoking cessation behaviour change interventions.

Nosek, B. A., Aarts, A. A., Anderson, J. E., Kappes, H. B., & Open Science Collaboration. (2015). Estimating the reproducibility of psychological science. Science, 349(6251), aac4716-aac4716.

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