Report from The Royal Society – Science as an Open Enterprise

Key Points of Relevance to the JoRD Project from a report by The Royal Society:

Science as an open enterprise (June 2012)

The full report can be found at the following location:

http://royalsociety.org/policy/projects/science-public-enterprise/report/

Areas for action

Six key areas for action are highlighted in the report:

  • Scientists need to be more open among themselves and with the public and media
  • Greater recognition needs to be given to the value of data gathering, analysis and communication
  • Common standards for sharing information are required to make it widely usable
  • Publishing data in a reusable form to support findings must be mandatory
  • More experts in managing and supporting the use of digital data are required
  • New software tools need to be developed to analyse the growing amount of data being gathered

Data analysis

The report gives the highlights of the results of the following study:

Public availability of published research data in high-impact journals

Alsheikh-Ali AA, Qureshi W, Al-Mallah MH, Ioannidis JP.

PLoS One. 2011;6(9):e24357. Epub 2011 Sep 7.

PMID:
21915316
[PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

Free PMC Article

 
Returning to the original article the following is found:

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

There is increasing interest to make primary data from published research publicly available. We aimed to assess the current status of making research data available in highly-cited journals across the scientific literature.

METHODS AND RESULTS:

We reviewed the first 10 original research papers of 2009 published in the 50 original research journals with the highest impact factor. For each journal we documented the policies related to public availability and sharing of data. Of the 50 journals, 44 (88%) had a statement in their instructions to authors related to public availability and sharing of data. However, there was wide variation in journal requirements, ranging from requiring the sharing of all primary data related to the research to just including a statement in the published manuscript that data can be available on request. Of the 500 assessed papers, 149 (30%) were not subject to any data availability policy. Of the remaining 351 papers that were covered by some data availability policy, 208 papers (59%) did not fully adhere to the data availability instructions of the journals they were published in, most commonly (73%) by not publicly depositing microarray data. The other 143 papers that adhered to the data availability instructions did so by publicly depositing only the specific data type as required, making a statement of willingness to share, or actually sharing all the primary data. Overall, only 47 papers (9%) deposited full primary raw data online. None of the 149 papers not subject to data availability policies made their full primary data publicly available.

CONCLUSION:

A substantial proportion of original research papers published in high-impact journals are either not subject to any data availability policies, or do not adhere to the data availability instructions in their respective journals. Journals should adopt more routinely policies for data sharing, expanding the types of data that are subject to public sharing policies with the ultimate target of covering all types of data. Moreover, it is essential to develop mechanisms for journals to ensure that existing data availability policies are consistently followed by researchers and published research findings are easily reproducible.

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