ManyBirds: A multi-site collaborative Open Science approach to avian cognition and behaviour research

Abstract:  Comparative cognitive and behaviour research aims to investigate cognitive evolution by comparing performance in different species to understand how these abilities have evolved. Ideally, this requires large and diverse samples, however, these can be difficult to obtain by single labs or institutions, leading to potential reproducibility and generalisation issues with small, less representative samples. To help mitigate these issues, we are establishing a multi-site collaborative Open Science approach called ManyBirds, with the aim of providing new insight into the evolution of avian cognition and behaviour through large-scale comparative studies, following the lead of exemplary ManyPrimates, ManyBabies and ManyDogs projects. Here, we outline a) why we should study birds, including the origin of modern birds, avian brains, convergent evolution of cognition, and the replicability crisis; b) the current state of the avian cognition field, including a ‘snapshot’ review; c) the ManyBirds project, with plans, infrastructure, limitations, implications and future directions. In sharing this process, we hope that this may be useful for other researchers in devising similar projects in other taxa, like non-avian reptiles or mammals, and to encourage further collaborations with ManyBirds and related ManyX projects. Ultimately, we hope to promote collaboration between ManyX projects to allow for wider investigation of the evolution of cognition across all animals, including potentially humans.


Editorial: Open science in consciousness research | Neuroscience of Consciousness | Oxford Academic

“All of us involved in the mind and brain sciences, in whatever capacity, are increasingly aware of the importance of ensuring the credibility of our research. This credibility—which for experimental work turns on its reliability—is particularly salient for consciousness research, given the at-times precarious perception of consciousness science within the wider landscapes of psychology and neuroscience (Michel et al. 2019). We are therefore very pleased to introduce a number of ‘open science’ initiatives that have recently been implemented in Neuroscience of Consciousness.

One key objective of open science is to actively resist the tendency to search for, and to preferentially publish, eye-catching findings that fit with compelling narratives. This means supporting studies that have been designed to report unbiased results that are reproducible and replicable, whether or not they are narratively convenient.

The gold standard approach here is the Registered Report (RR) format….”

Welcome to Cogprints – Cogprints

“Welcome to CogPrints, an electronic archive for self-archive papers in any area of Psychology, Neuroscience, and Linguistics, and many areas of Computer Science (e.g., artificial intelligence, robotics, vison, learning, speech, neural networks), Philosophy (e.g., mind, language, knowledge, science, logic), Biology (e.g., ethology, behavioral ecology, sociobiology, behaviour genetics, evolutionary theory), Medicine (e.g., Psychiatry, Neurology, human genetics, Imaging), Anthropology (e.g., primatology, cognitive ethnology, archeology, paleontology), as well as any other portions of the physical, social and mathematical sciences that are pertinent to the study of cognition….”

“Open MIND” open access collection of original research publications on the mind, brain, and consciousness freely available online

“The MIND Group, run by the Mainz-based philosophy professor Thomas Metzinger, has chosen an unusual and innovative way to celebrate a special anniversary. Instead of organizing a one-off event, such as a conference, Professor Thomas Metzinger and Dr. Jennifer Windt are editing a collection of articles that document state-of-the-art research on the mind and the brain, consciousness, and the self. The collection is available online [open access] at to anyone interested and will subsequently be published as a 2,000-page book. The project is supported by a local team of advanced undergraduate and graduate students at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU)….”