On a balmy evening in August, I was lounging in the garden with a dead-tree copy of Perspectives on Politics (as you do), and stumbled across a rather spirited, well-written editorial attack by Jeffrey C. Isaac on the Data Access & Research Transparency (DA-RT) manifesto. So far, I had had only the vaguest awareness of the DA-RT movement (which took off five years ago), presumably because I’m a happy little data junkie for whom most of the demands and ideas make intuitive sense. Nonetheless, I can see the merit of some of the counter-arguments, and Isaac provides some interesting context. Although I went to APSA a couple of weeks later, I did not attend any DA-RT-related panels, and basically forgot about it.
What is DA-RT, and why should you care?
And now, three months later, controversy is all over what remains of the Political Science blogosphere. Over at the Plot, Isaac repeats his key arguments against DA-RT, and comments on some recent developments. If you are not interested in the context provided by his original article, that is the place to look. At the Duck, Jarrod Hayes is also not very fond of DA-RT, stressing the problems it would create for researchers doing qualitative interviews. On the other hand, Nicole Janz, who is on a worthy mission to promote reproducibility in Political Science with her replication blog, mocks a recent “petition”, so far signed by more than 600 colleagues (linked from the article) as “Political Scientists Trying to Delay Research Transparency”. John Patty, who has signed up DA-RT, gives the petition another beating: “Responding To A Petition To Nobody (Or Everybody)”. There is even a twitter handle @DARTsupporters, that posts the odd congratulatory message when another journal editor signs up to DA-RT (follow at your own peril, as this implies supporting DA-RT, according to the bio). I predict much fun and merriment ahead in Political Science in months to come.
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