MZES Open Social Science Conference: Call for Papers published

With my amazing colleagues Nate Breznau and Eike Mark Rinke, I have the pleasure to organize a conference on a topic that is of personal importance for me. It concerns the practices and politics of doing research and is about establishing new standards of reproducibility and transparency in social science research.

Here is our call for papers. Please forward it to friends and colleagues and consider participating. Feel free to contact me with any questions you might have.

CfP — MZES Open Social Science Conference 2019: Practicing New Standards in Transparency and Reproducibility

This conference is a forum for practicing and discussing credibility, transparency and replicability in the social sciences.

About a decade ago, John Ioannidis claimed that “most published research findings are false”. While seeming outrageous at the time, a growing body of meta-scientific research in the behavioral and social sciences substantiated this claim, causing uncertainty about the trustworthiness of published scientific findings. We believe that threats to the validity of published findings in the social sciences are widespread and systemic. Therefore, this conference promotes introspection about the current state of social science research and exchange on the opportunities for institutional and methodological improvement in the future.

The conference is supported by the Berkeley Initiative for Transparency in the Social Sciences (BITSS) and will take place from 25-27 January 2019 in Mannheim, Germany.

Conference Websitetwitter

Keynote speakers

Jeremy Freese (Stanford University)
Thomas König (APSR, University of Mannheim)
Arthur Lupia (OSF, University of Michigan)
Julia Rohrer (100% CI, Leipzig University)

Participate in the conference

  • Give a talk: We call for researchers to advance discussion, debate, literature synthesis, or methods in open social science. We welcome methodological advances, e.g., p-curve analysis, systematic reviews, pre-analysis planning, and replication. We welcome general research findings that apply best practices of open science while conducting the research – Abstract submission DL: 22 August 2018  Read more
  • MZES-GESIS Pre-Registration Challenge:  We call for researchers to participate in a competition to win funding or survey time for the most innovative and rigorous pre-registration plan for a social science study. – Abstract submission DL: 22 August 2018  Read more
  • OSSC19 Crowdsourced Replication Initiative: We call for researchers to replicate and expand a previously published cross-national macro-comparative study. The goal is to explore and develop crowdsourcing methods and generate research surpassing what a single researcher could achieve. The replication comes from the field of immigration and social policy, but we encourage social science researchers of all disciplines and levels to participate. All full participants will be co-authors on the final paper. – Registration DL: 27 July 2018   Read more

Participate as a guest in Mannheim during the conference or during the subsequent Open Science Workshop, offered in collaboration with the Berkeley Initiative for Transparency in the Social Sciences (BITSS). Or use the live stream online.


Article at LSE Business Review: For free trade, but against TTIP: public opinion and the backlash against globalisation

LSE Business Review has published an article of ours (Jungherr, Mader, Schoen, Wuttke) summarizing the paper „Context-driven attitude formation: the difference between supporting free trade in the abstract and supporting specific trade agreements“, published in Review of International Political Economy. 

Considering current discussions about the eminent trade war between the US and Europe and related discussions about „TTIP light“, we hope this piece has some value for explaining public support and opposition towards free trade and specific free trade agreements:

LSE Business Review: For free trade, but against TTIP: public opinion and the backlash against globalisation

Why some people care about politics and others hardly bother at blog – Blog Post at International Society of Political Psychology

Theory in a nutshell

Why some people value political engagement and even find pleasure in engaging with politics while others hardly bother about the political domain, is a crucial question for the functioning of democratic societies. In my dissertation, I investigate what we can learn from motivation studies (largely neglected by political scientists) to understand the roots of political engagement. My contribution is to investigate the nonpolitical origins of political engagement in early childhood experiences, more specifically, the level of need satisfaction provided in the parental home during socialization’s formative phase.

I had the opportunity to write about these thoughts and the findings from two analyses of longitudinal cohort data at the ISSP blog. Please feel free to provide any comments and criticism.

Link to ISPP blog post on the roots of political engagement

[MZES 2019] Open Social Science Conference: Practicing New Standards in Research Integrity and Reproducibility

Open Science refers to a broad, transdisciplinary movement aiming to open up research processes to promote the integrity, reproducibility and value of scholarly work, in part as a response to pressing problems facing science. This movement thoroughly changed the field of psychology, and clearly a similar fundamental rearrangement is coming in all social sciences, for example political science, sociology, and communication.

With Nate Breznau and Eike Rinke, I have the pleasure of organizing  a meta-scientific conference, which discusses, advances and pushes for Open Science in research on politics and society.

Find preliminary information on our website.

Mannheim, Jan 25th-27th 2019.

Conference structure
Stream 1: Advancing Open Science: Problems in and solutions for research on politics and society
Stream 2: Doing Open Science: Applications in research on politics on society
Stream 3: Debating Open Science: Perspectives on the State of Social Science
Pre-registration challenge
Crowdsourced replication effort
BITSS Workshop on reproducible research

Key note speakers
Jeremy Freese (Stanford University)
Thomas König (APSR, University of Mannheim)
Arthur Lupia (OSF, University of Michigan)
Julia Rohrer (100% CI, Uni Leipzig)

How to participate
In June, we will distribute the CfP and information on the crowdsourced replication effort and the pre-registration challenge.

Follow us on twitter: @opensocsci

New publication [German, Zeitschrift für Parlamentsfragen]: A swing in the final weeks of the campaign: evidence from a multi-wave panel survey on the 2017 state election in Lower Saxony.

The state election in Lower Saxony in October 2017 walked in the shadows of the preceding election on the federal level. In light of both campaigns’ temporal proximity, this study investigates the development of political attitudes towards the federal and the state level and their relative influence on voter behavior in Lower Saxony. We make use of a multi-wave panel survey of 1,346 eligible voters in Lower Saxony, which was carried out in the framework of the German Longitudinal Election Study (GLES). Cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses show that a significant minority of respondents based their voting decision in the state election on state-specific considerations. State-specific attitudes varied strongly and to a large extent independently of attitudes towards parties and politicians at the federal level and went hand in hand with changes in voting intentions. The Lower Saxony SPD, in particular, was able to promote the popularity of its leading candidate, thereby leaving behind the CDU at the ballot boxes. [ZParl, vol. 49 (2018), no. 1, pp. 22 – 39]



Ein Umschwung in den letzten Wochen des Landtagswahlkampfes: Befunde einer mehrwelligen Wiederholungsbefragung zur niedersächsischen Landtagswahl 2017

Die niedersächsische Landtagswahl im Oktober 2017 fand im Schatten der vorhergehenden Bundestagswahl statt. Vor dem Hintergrund der zeitlichen Nähe beider Wahlgänge untersucht dieser Aufsatz die Entwicklung bundes- und landesbezogener Einstellungen im Wahlkampfverlauf sowie deren Einfluss auf das Wählerverhalten in Niedersachsen. Eine mehrwellige Wiederholungsbefragung von 1.346 niedersächsischen Wahlberechtigten, die im Rahmen der German Longitudinal Election Study (GLES) durchgeführt wurde, dient als Grundlage der Untersuchung. In quer- und längsschnittlichen Analysen wird gezeigt, dass eine bedeutende Minderheit der Befragten den Wahlentscheidungen auf der Landesebene ebenenspezifische Erwägungen zu Grunde legt. Landesbezogene Einstellungen waren einer von der Bundesebene weitgehend unabhängigen Wahlkampfdynamik unterworfen, die die Wahlabsichten des Elektorats beeinflusst zu haben scheinen. So konnte gerade die niedersächsische SPD die Popularität ihres Spitzenkandidaten in den letzten Wahlkampfwochen steigern und dadurch die CDU in einem Schlussspurt als stärkste Kraft ablösen. [ZParl, 49. Jg. (2018), H. 1, S. 22 – 39]

replication material
Published panel survey data on Lower Saxony

German Campaign Panel Publicly Available!

The 2017 German elections (and its aftermath) were extraordinary. At the campaign’s outset, the SPD experienced the strongest surge in public approval ever observed in German polling but months later attitudes had shifted again and the party ended up with its lowest election result in decades. The decline of Germany’s oldest democratic party was accompanied by the re-entry of the Free Democrats into German parliament and the rise of a populist right-wing party propagating stances on immigration and German history that for long were treated as „taboo“ in public discourse. Finally, the elections brought a new parliament but, for the first time in German history, no government.

With the publication of the 2017 GLES campaign panel you now have data to investigate these elections that might once mark a historic transition in German politics.

Data download & documentation

Key facts

  • Eight survey waves (more to come)
  • 22,526 respondents
  • side-study on parallel provincial snap election
  • extensive documentation (English translation soon)
  • harmonized with all other GLES components (face 2 face survey, media analysis, RCS etc.)

Next steps

  • A few weeks after the federal election in Germany, the citizens of Lower Saxony had the chance to vote again in a provincial snap election. Shortly after the provincial snap elections were called, we included an extensive survey battery on attitudes towards politicians and parties in Lower Saxony to assess how the parallel campaigns on the federal and on the provincial levels impact level-specific attitudes (survey wave 5ff.). These survey measure are included in the published data file. We conducted an additional post-election survey wave, exclusively for respondent from Lower Saxony. This wave will be added soon.
  • After a decision has been made about whether our country will either have a government again or will face new elections, we will conduct another survey wave (wave 9), which then will be added to the data set.
  • English translations will follow.
  • More information on survey measures (which instrument in which waves etc.) will follow.

Data download & documentation

New publication in [Review of International Political Economy]: Context-Driven Attitude Formation – The Difference Between Supporting Free Trade in the Abstract and Supporting Specific Trade Agreements

Contextual model of attitude formation

Many studies use the same factors to explain attitudes toward specific trade agreements and attitudes toward the principle of free trade and thus treat both objects as interchangeable. Contemporary trade agreements, however, often reach beyond trade in the narrow sense. Consequently, factors unrelated to free trade may affect citizens’ evaluations of these agreements. We propose a model of attitude formation toward specific trade agreements that includes the societal context as a constitutive feature. We expect salient aspects of an agreement to activate corresponding predispositions. Empirically, we compare how this contextual model and a standard model perform in explaining German citizens’ attitudes toward free trade and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). The results show that the standard model performs well in explaining public opinion on the principle of free trade but is less useful in explaining attitudes toward TTIP. The latter were driven by postures toward transatlantic cooperation, predispositions toward the role of interest groups in politics, and market regulation – aspects salient in German public discourse about TTIP. In sum, we find ample evidence for the need to differentiate between the two attitude objects and for our contextual model of attitude formation.

The article was was published in the Review of International Political Economy (with Andreas Jungherr, Matthias Mader, Harald Schoen). It is Open Access. You can find replication material here.

Kurzfassung: Wie Partizipation wirkt – Attraktivere Parteien durch mehr Mitbestimmung?

Die Hauptbefunde der kürzlich veröffentlichte Studie (Party Politics, mit Andreas Jungherr und Harald Schoen) zur Wirkung innerparteilicher Partizipation haben wir kompakt und (hoffentlich) verständlich beim Wissenschaftsblog DeFacto zusammengefasst.

Unsere Untersuchung zeigt, dass die Konsequenzen eines innerparteilichen Referendums über den Entscheid in der Sachfrage hinausreichen :

Ein Mitgliedervotum verändert, wie Mitglieder auf ihre Partei blicken. Wer über Sachfragen abstimmen darf, fühlt sich als Parteimitglied ermächtigt. Mitglieder lernen im Diskussionsprozess über das Verhalten der Parteispitzen und bewerten sie stärker auf Grund ihrer eigenen inhaltlichen Überzeugungen.

Weitere Informationen sind auf einer studienbegleitenden Webseite zu finden. Kommentare sind willkommen!

Wie Partizipation wirkt: Attraktivere Parteien durch mehr Mitbestimmung?

New publication in Party Politics: Will participation in an intra-party referendum affect how members perceive the party organization?


After the country’s reunification German political parties have lost half of their members. Parties respond by expanding intra-party participation. Their goal is to revitalize party organizations and to motivate more citizens to join.

Using original data, we investigate the consequences of an intraparty referendum in a state branch of Germany’s Christian Democratic Union on beliefs and attitudes of party members. We use longitudinal survey data bracketing a nonbinding issue referendum on the party’s stance on same-sex marriage.

Figure 1: Party-related efficacy before and after the referendum

Our analysis shows that the referendum had secondary effects that went beyond the referendum’s primary goal of delivering an informal opinion poll to the party leadership. The experience of having a say in an important policy decision fostered members’ sense of party-specific efficacy.  The increases were higher among members who did not perceive themselves as efficacious before. Efficacy increased independent of a member’s voting behavior.


Figure 2: Influence of respondent’s position on same sex marriage on evaluations of party elites

Secondly, the referendum provided party members with information on elite positions and stimulated leadership evaluation based on issue congruency.  As a result. members use issue-positions as yardstick to evaluate party leaders, if party elites took a stance on same-sex marriage.

Altogether, involvement in intraparty decision-making promotes beliefs and behaviors among the rank and file that are relevant to uphold a vivid and empowering party life.

In the ongoing discussions about expanding intra-party democracy (such as the one we are witnessing in Germany’s Social Democratic Party at the moment), we believe that party members and party leaders can learn from our study about likely effects of opportunities for member participation. Against the backdrop of the study’s relevance to inform these debates, SAGE graciously decided to make the study public for a couple of months.

The study can be obtained here. We also make available the survey data of our two-wave panel study of party members and the syntaxes of our analyses.


Science Podcast: Improve your research on the treadmill

I eat a lot. Therefore I need to spend a lot of time in the gym. Turns out it is a good place to learn about science and to improve your research skills. Take New Books in Political Science, for example. Books have many pages and need much time to read. Why not letting the author herself explain to you in 15 minutes what the book is about while you are grocery shopping?

Photo by Jason Rosewell on Unsplash

Being serious, podcast obviously cannot substitute reading a book or an article in its entirety. But just like skimming an abstract, it provides an overview of what is out there and provides you with the information to decide on whether you want to dig deeper.

There are many excellent science-related podcast out there. Some of them are about researching itself, some about specific subfields. Here’s my selection:

New Books in Political Science – Political Science

The podcast features short interviews about recently published books with political scientists from all subfields of the disciplines. New Books in Political Science is part of the New-Books-Network which also has fascinating podcasts on psychology, philosophy, history…

WZBDemocracy German, political science

Scientists from the Berlin-based WZB talk about their research. Previous episodes on electoral system, populism, political parties…

You Are Not So Smart

Today, I read on Christiane Grünloh’s blog about You Are Not So Smart by David McRaney. I haven’t listened to it myself yet, but it appears to be a promising podcast on persuasion and social psychology in general.

Vox: The Weed – Journalism, Policies

Four journalists talk about US-american policies, often drawing on insights from political science. Features Ezra Klein, one of the most innovative journalists of his generation.

Everything hertz – Methods, Open Science

Two crazy guys talk about the newest gossip and developments in the academic twittersphere. A good example of how we can learn across disciplines because one is a psychologist and the other a Bio…something. One big topic: Methods and promoting open science and research transparency.

The Startup Scientist – Doing research

Dan Quintana (Everything hertz) gives advice on how to develop your career as a scientist using a start-up framework. Excellent tips that really changed how I do my work.

Conversations with Tyler – Smart conversations

Economist Tyler Cowen discusses the world’s big questions with invited guests and often even the question is already smarter than any answer could possibly be.

Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History – History

This is not my field and I have no idea how historians judge the scientific accuracy of Dan Carlin’s explanation of why the world came about the way it is. In any case, he can make you feel like you are reliving historic moments.

In our Time BBC – Diverse

30-minute discussions of a selected topic (truth, Picasso’s Guernica, Feathered Dinosaurs, Plato’s Republic…) with four academic export.

Freakonomics – Economics, long-read

Using insights from economics, this podcast explains at depth every-day-phenomena.


This is not enough? Here’s an even longer lister of science podcasts.

I am grateful for further suggestions on good podcasts in the comments!



Bringing workout-out-and-work efficiency to the next level: The treadmill desk

Picture from

It turns out, avoiding to waste my time in the gym by using the countless on the treadmill to listen to science podcast was just „efficiency for beginners“. As I just learned, Uri Simonsohn, an open science guy I deeply respect and who played a significant role in making psychology’s renaissance possible, avoids the gym altogether and simply placed the treadmill under his desk. Yes, he writes his papers and syntaxes while walking on the treadmill. Here, he describes at greater length his treadmill desk installation. Apparently, Amazon offers dozens of these treadmill desks…