The Transparency and Openness Promotion Guidelines are a community-driven effort to align scientific ideals with practices.

Transparency, open sharing, and reproducibility are core values of science, but not always part of daily practice. Journals, funders, and scholarly societies can increase reproducibility of research by adopting the Transparency and Openness Promotion (TOP) Guidelines and helping them evolve to meet the needs of researchers and publishers while pursuing the most transparent practices.


Published in Science in 2015, the TOP guidelines include eight modular standards, each with three levels of increasing stringency. Journals select which of the eight transparency standards they wish to adopt for their journal, and select a level of implementation for each standard. These features provide flexibility for adoption depending on disciplinary variation, but simultaneously establish community standards.


Eight Standards at Three Levels of Increasing Rigor

Standards: Data Citation | Data, Materials, and Code Transparency | Design and Analysis | Preregistration | Replication

Levels: Disclose, Require, or Verify


Best Practices for Journals and Publishers

Requiring more transparent research practices, with reasonable exceptions for difficult situations, is possible. This set of standards require open data, research materials, and analytic code, while encouraging disclosure of additional steps that can increase the credibility of inferential research. 


Level 2 for Data Citation and Data, Materials, Code, and Design Standards; Level 1 for Preregistration and Replication


News and Updates

  • See how Cancer Research UK is partnering with Nicotine & Tobacco Research to increase efficiency, reduce bias, and increase rigor with this Registered Reports partnership.
  • Springer Nature's recent editorial about the TOP Guidelines.
  • American Journal of Political Science's recent discussion of the challenges and benefits of adopting TOP.


Become a Signatory

Over 2,900 journals and organizations have already become signatories of the TOP Guidelines. Show your support of the principles behind the standards by becoming a signatory today. We'll reach out and help to implement the standards that are most appropriate to the work that you fund or publish.


For inquiries, please contact David Mellor or email top@cos.io.
Level 0 Level I Level II Level III
Citation Standards Journal encourages citation of data, code, and materials, or says nothing. Journal describes citation of data in guidelines to authors with clear rules and examples. Article provides appropriate citation for data and materials used consistent with journal's author guidelines. Article is not published until providing appropriate citation for data and materials following journal's author guidelines.
Data Transparency Journal encourages data sharing, or says nothing. Article states whether data are available, and, if so, where to access them. Data must be posted to a trusted repository. Exceptions must be identified at article submission. Data must be posted to a trusted repository, and reported analyses will be reproduced independently prior to publication.
Analytic Methods (Code) Transparency Journal encourages code sharing, or says nothing. Article states whether code is available, and, if so, where to access it. Code must be posted to a trusted repository. Exceptions must be identified at article submission. Code must be posted to a trusted repository, and reported analyses will be reproduced independently prior to publication.
Research Materials Transparency Journal encourages materials sharing, or says nothing. Article states whether materials are available, and, if so, where to access them. Materials must be posted to a trusted repository. Exceptions must be identified at article submission. Materials must be posted to a trusted repository, and reported analyses will be reproduced independently prior to publication.
Design and Analysis Transparency Journal encourages design and analysis transparency, or says nothing. Journal articulates design transparency standards. Journal requires adherence to design transparency standards for review and publication. Journal requires and enforces adherence to design transparency standards for review and publication.
Study Preregistration Journal says nothing. Article states whether preregistration of study exists, and, if so, where to access it. Article states whether preregistration of study exists, and, if so, allows journal access during peer review for verification. Journal requires preregistration of studies and provides link and badge in article to meeting requirements.
Analysis Plan Preregistration Journal says nothing. Article states whether preregistration of study exists, and, if so, where to access it. Article states whether preregistration with analysis plan exists, and, if so, allows journal access during peer review for verification. Journal requires preregistration of studies with analysis plans and provides link and badge in article to meeting requirements.
Replication Journal discourages submission of replication studies, or says nothing. Journal encourages submission of replication studies. Journal encourages submission of replication studies and conducts results blind review. Journal uses Registered Reports as a submission option for replication studies with peer review prior to observing the study outcomes.

Read the complete TOP Guidelines PDF or wiki

Implementing the TOP Guidelines

  • Review the language on these sample implementations for journals or funding agencies.
  • Determine which standards you wish to use.
  • Each standard can be applied in one of three levels of increasing rigor.
  • Consider making an announcement about your implementation through an editorial, blog post, or other outreach.

TOP Implementors

See how some journals are using the TOP Guidelines. 


Resources

  • One pager and slides (ppt or pdf)
  • Use this checklist when developing your own implementation.
  • See the variety of sample implementations for funders and journals.
  • See this resources page for more reporting guidelines, data disclosure statements, and other relevant resources. 
  • Read the complete TOP Guidelines PDF or wiki.
  • Fill out this form if you want us to send you a customized set of TOP standards at the levels you want to implement.

    Over 2,900 journals and organizations have become signatories to the TOP Guidelines. 

    Journal signatories are expressing their support of the principles of openness, transparency, and reproducibility, expressing interest in the guidelines and commit to conducting a review within a year of the standards and levels of adoption.

    Organization signatories are expressing their support of the principles of openness, transparency, and reproducibility and encouraging associated journals to conduct a review of the standards and levels of adoption.

    See Springer Nature's recent statement about the TOP Guidelines. 



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Journal Title Publisher Society/Association Affiliation Subject Area