Science in a digitalized era: Swiss Open Psychological Science Initiative (SOPSI)

Strategic Partnership
University of Geneva – University of Zurich

Project Holders
Prof. Evie Vergauwe (University of Geneva)
Dr Alessandra S. Souza (University of Zurich)


Science in a digitalized era is open, public, reproducible, and collaborative. This project aimed at fostering the adoption of open practices and multi-site collaborations among Swiss-based psychologists. Although many psychologists recognize the importance of open science and multi-site collaborations, in practice its adoption still faces barriers. Fostering open and collaborative science practices is critical for allowing UNIGE and UZH to meet their digital strategies regarding psychological science, and to take a leading role in shaping the landscape of this scientific field, thereby remaining competitive. 

The goals were three-fold:
(a) to get a better understanding of the difficulties Swiss-based psychologists face in adopting open practices;
(b) to create a network of pro-open-science psychologists that share tips and tools, and 
(c) to create a platform for the launching of national multi-site studies.


Overall, the project aimed at providing an opportunity to train the new generation of researchers in open science in a sustainable manner, and to create a culture of open, collaborative science among Swiss-based psychologists. To achieve these goals, the following steps were taken: 

(1) carrying out a survey to assess the experiences of Swiss-based psychologists with open science and multi-site collaboration (an overview of the main results, such as the graphs below, is available here);

Level of experience with Open Science of survey participants (SOPSI 2019).

Importance of Open Science as judged by survey participants (SOPSI 2019).

(2) creating a website (, a Twitter account, and email newsletter;

(3) organizing two workshops providing targeted training for psychology researchers, addressing the issues revealed in the survey. The first took place in Geneva (01.07.2019) and the second in Zurich (02.07.2019), bringing together around 130 attendees in all from several swiss institutions, including the universities of Zurich, Geneva, Fribourg and the Swiss Distance Learning University. The keynote speakers included Prof. E. J. Wagenmakers (University of Amsterdam and founder of the JASP software) and Dr. Jackie Thompson (University of Bristol). The covered topics ranged from Bayesian statistics to preregistration to Open data and Open materials. The workshop materials are openly available on the Open Science Framework page


New connections between the psychology researchers of the University of Zürich and the University of Geneva were made and will most certainly result in future collaborations related to teaching of open science. 

An open science group is in the process of being created at the Psychology department of the University of Geneva, which will then be associated with the open science group in the Psychology department of the University of Zürich. 

The project holders, Prof. Vergauwe and Dr Souza, have also joined the international Center for Open Science (organized by Brian Nosek) bringing together grassroot networks in the matter and mapping open science initiatives across the globe. 


UNIGE (E. Vergauwe): Psychology researchers at the University of Geneva had not had many opportunities to receive training in open science practices before. This has now changed and they have received training, were able to meet other like-minded and receptive Swiss-based researchers, and were able to discuss with other players in the open science area (a discussion had been set up with library personnel who are involved in open data, as well as with a person involved in data protection and another from the ethical commission). For my personal career, it has given me visibility within the Swiss-based psychology community, and allowed me to create the network that I need for future open science related initiatives. 

UZH (A. Souza) : The Open Science Day organized at the University of Zurich was received with great interest by the researchers (Mittelbau) and the professors. Around 80 people joined the workshops. Thanks to the visibility brought bySOPSI, I have now been appointed as a member of the Open Science Group in the Psychology Institute where I continue to contribute to the open science efforts of our department. This includes creating best practice guidelines for sharing of data and materials, creating initiatives for fostering the inclusion of open science in teaching such as establishing prizes to open projects conducted in the department, and more. We are also considering organizing more workshops and debate series, similar to the SOPSI ones, as well as contributing to the general open science strategy of the university as a whole. This will include participation in university-wide commissions and discussions in the near future.