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The Transparency Initiative coordinating committee report

The TICC (Transparency Initiative Coordinating Committee) is addressing the issue that there is not enough transparency in the social, behavioral and marketing sciences. Openness is fundamental to scientific inquiry, so the transparency initiative's goal is to advance the science and reputation of survey research providing support to the study sponsors and survey researchers.

Researchers who publish survey results are expected to provide all the items of the AAPOR Code, Section III, some items of which must be made available immediately and others within 30 days of request.

The TICC provides monthly updates on the transparency initiative page on the AAPOR website. "One of the criticisms of the transparency initiative was that we were not transparent enough!" The update site addresses that.

The committee completed a revision of proposed TI procedures and developed informational materials for the next pilot test. Many initial pilot participants requested more information to comply with the initiative. A series of YouTube modules on the transparency initiative are available. The committee also compiled examples of TI compliant methodological reports that can serve as models for members.

To join the transparency initiative, the current thinking is the organization will need to complete a TI Certification Agreement, provide documents of two surveys that are compliant, pay a minimal application fee to AAPOR, and have the committee review and approve the application. Then the organization becomes TI certified, receives a letter from AAPOR president, receives the TI logo to display on the website and is added to the AAPOR web site list of TI members. 

Once certified, the focus will shift to continuous education, with commitment reconfirmed annually and be sampled every two years. The committee will review complaints from the public about failure to disclose within 30 days and will work with the infringing organizations to address the problem.

The second pilot test will launch in June 2013, bringing on organizations one at a time. In the summer and fall of 2013 the committee will implement a second pilot test. In late 2013 they will report test findings to the council and in early 2014 plan for either the third pilot test or begin the full TI implementation.

While individuals who are AAPOR members have committed to disclosure, organizations have not and many organizations with AAPOR members do not disclose everything required. The Transparency Initiative will make this an organizational responsibility. The committee hopes to use recent Marist research on disclosure rates to show progress to greater transparency in the future.

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