Show your work: Tools for open developmental science

On the left, a spherical mass is placed on an inclined plane with the parameters shown. The equations of motion can be readily determined, and the future position of the mass computed. If instead we consider a mouse in the same situation as on the right, prediction about future states is much more difficult, largely due to the number of potentially influential but not easily measured factors.


Since grade school, students of many subjects have learned to “show their work” in order to receive full credit for assignments. Many of the reasons for students to show their work extend to the conduct of scientific research. And yet multiple barriers make it challenging to share and show the products of scientific work beyond published findings. This chapter discusses some of these barriers and how web-based data repositories help overcome them. The focus is on, a data library specialized for storing and sharing video data with a restricted community of institutionally approved investigators. Databrary was designed by and for developmental researchers, and so its features and policies reflect many of the specific challenges faced by this community, especially those associated with sharing video and related identifiable data. The chapter argues that developmental science poses some of the most interesting, challenging, and important questions in all of science, and that by openly sharing much more of the products and processes of our work, developmental scientists can accelerate discovery while making our scholarship much more robust and reproducible.

In Gilmore, R.O. & Lockman, J. (Eds.), New Approaches to Studying Child Development. Advances in Child Development and Behavior (vol. 62). Elsevier Press