Another week, another presentation

Early this morning, well before normal work time, the dedicated Centre for Research Communication employees, Marianne and Jane, entered the special media communication room which contains the video conferencing equipment so that they could jointly present “Publisher Interest towards a role for Journals in Data Sharing: The Findings of the JoRD Project”. In the true spirit of global access and the digital world, they presented in Nottingham, UK and the presentation was seen at the ELPUB conference in Karleskrona, Sweden. We are pleased to report that the Nottingham technology worked really well, but a fellow presenter, also speaking through Adobe Connect, had difficulties with her connection and transmitted the sound of a large aircraft which was passing over the room where she was speaking. Jane and Marianne had chosen the high-tech route, because currently a tram line and bridge is being noisily constructed out side their office window, and had they decided to present from their computer, there would have been the sound of heavy machinery moving, beeps and rumbles, drilling and clangs.

Here is the link for the power-point slides:

JoRDELPUB

 

 

 

 

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Prezis from the presentations

Last week was busy for the JoRD team. Jane did the presentation for ANDS, and Marianne appeared twice at Oxford, once to present a brief summary of the JoRD project to the Jisc organised “Now and Future of Data Publishing” event, and later in the week, to give a selection of the project findings to the Dryad Members meeting. The links to both the Oxford presentations follow, with a text summary.

The JoRD Project and its implications for repositories

http://prezi.com/ytir00evayoj/the-jord-project-and-implications-for-repositories/?kw=view-ytir00evayoj&rc=ref-5597897

JoRD and the implications for data sharing and repositories

1. The project was Jisc funded to explore the possibility of setting up a self sustaining data base and service to collate and summarise academic Journal policies on the deposition of data associated with published articles
2. Current belief that openly accessible research data is a good thing because it drives science forward
3. Aims Jisc funded project to look at the possibility of setting up a central resource of journal instructions to authors about sharing the data on which articles are based
4. Objectives
• Investigate current state of Journal data policies
• Investigate current data sharing views and habits
5. Landscape of data sharing There has always been data published in printed journals in the form of charts and tables
6. But digital data becomes a problem, where should it be stored? In a repository? On a website? Embedded into articles?
7. This is a journal data policy, it is an instruction to authors of where to share or deposit research data that is relevant to a published article
8. We initially analysed 230 research data policies and found many inconsistencies and a lack of standardisation
9. Some journals were vague about the form of data to be deposited, others were more precise
10. Some journals were specific about where the data should be deposited, most were less so.
11. Go back to the policy and explain
12. We spoke these stakeholder groups and we found a number of dichotomies
13. Taking researchers first, they said that they would be happy to share their data (with certain caveats, which I will not go into here). These were the reasons they gave for sharing data
14. However, when we asked how much they shared and where, most of them only shared with colleagues. Only a small number mentioned that they put their data into repositories
15. We asked them why that was, and they their replies ranged over No time, don’t know where, difficulty of accessing Institutional repositories. And that current research models do not value and encourage data sharing (A PhD researcher sated that he felt that if he shared his data during the course of the research, he may be “gazzumped”, meaning that should someone publish  research on his chosen topic, the thesis would no longer be unique and therefore the doctoral thesis would no longer be credited)
16. The publishers also showed a dichotomy whereas they also appreciated the benefits of sharing data, they felt that their servers would have difficulty holding the quantity of data included in each article and that repositories were the right place. However there was some discussion about the long term availability of repositories. They have not yet been proven, but the publishing houses have been around for a long time
17. Worries about links, etc
18. Academic librarians and Repository managers, no conflicting concerns, practicality
19. Data sharing landscape is a mess
20. How could a Jord Service improve the infra-structure?
• Develop a model data policy framework, which takes into account the concerns of all the stakeholders
21. Improved policies saves the time of publishers and authors, more consistent
22. Address the fears of IP, data citation etc, eliminating dichotomies, improving the infrastructures, creates order
• Implications for repositories, authors know where data can be deposited to be shared and re-used, more will do so.

The JoRD Project: Now and Future

http://prezi.com/ork2eo_6lb7x/the-jord-project-now-and-the-future/?kw=view-ork2eo_6lb7x&rc=ref-5597897

The JoRD Project: now and future

1. JISC funded feasibility study central resource of research Journal data policies
2. Looked at what the service should include and whether it could pay for itself
3. And 4 Tried to answer two questions
• Can Journal data policies encourage deposition of data?
• Will a JoRD service help publicly funded data to be shared and re-used?
5. Why bother? When an author publishes she is trading her intellectual property with a publisher, as part of a transaction and there are certain obligations on both sides, this can include data linked to the article. Author needs to know and understand what to do with it (reading the small print)
6. Needed to find out three things
• Understand current journal data policies
• Would anyone bother to use the service
• Could it generate sufficient income for development, building and maintenance?
7. We analysed some journal data policies in depth
8. Looked at 371 journals,
9. What was in the policies? Main areas were data type, when to deposit, and where
10. Little requirement for open access or compliance or consequences for non compliance
11. That does not provide an argument that journal data policies will help open data sharing
12. And 18 But there are signs that the situation is changing
• More publishers are considering data policies
• Elsevier Journal of the future
• Rise of data journals
• Apparent upward trend of journals with data policies
19. If there were a JoRD Service, would anyone use it?
20. All the stakeholders said that they would
21. For a variety of reasons BUT
22. They all wanted different things…
23. …apart from these, difficult to build one service
24. And will anyone pay for it?
25. Resounding no, except from publishers if the service was all singing and dancing
26. So, how does a JoRD service stand?
27. Now, with few policies stipulating deposit of data and stakeholders not financially contributing,
28. BUT… Let’s think of the future? The landscape is changing
29. Funders are asking for data plans to be included in funding bids
30. Universities are installing data management systems
31. Increase of data journals
32. And expectation that data should be included in articles
33. We have an opportunity to build a high quality data-base of existing journals data policies, which can be added to and maintained to a high level with simple user interface. Establish a user base and develop a sustainable business model which can be implemented in a later stage.
34. JoRD is the future And we should build it now when the quantity of data is smaller and the cost will be lower
35. Before the data deluge comes

A rather long post, but quite a brief summary

Here is a summary of the the project so far.

Sharing the data which is generated by research projects is increasingly being recognised as an academic priority by funders, researchers and publishers.  The issue of the policies on sharing set out by academic journals has been raised by scientific organisations, such as the US National Academy of Sciences, which urges journals to make clear statements of their sharing policies. On the other hand, the publishing community expresses concerns over the intellectual property implications of archiving shared data, whilst broadly supporting the principle of open and accessible research data .

The JoRD Project was a feasibility study on the possible shape of a central service on journal research data policies, funded by the UK JISC under its Managing Data Research Programme. It was carried out by the Centre for Research Communications Research at Nottingham University (UK) with contributions from the Research Information Network and Mark Ware Consulting Ltd. The project used a mix of methods to examine the scope and form of a sustainable, international service that would collate and summarise journal policies on research data for the use of researchers, managers of research data and other stakeholders. The purpose of the service would be to provide a ready reference source of easily accessible, standardised, accurate and clear guidance and information, on the journal policy landscape relating to research data. The specific objectives of the study were:  to identify the current state of journal data sharing policies; to investigate the views and practices of stakeholders; to develop an overall view of stakeholder requirements and possible service specifications; to explore the market base for a JoRD Policy Bank Service; and to investigate and recommend sustainable business models for the development of a JoRD Policy Bank Service

A review of relevant literature showed evidence that scientific institutions are attempting to draw attention to the importance of journal data policies and a sense that the scientific community in general is in favour of the concept of data sharing.  At the same time it seems to be the case that more needs to be done to convince the publishing world of the need for greater consistency in data policy and author guidelines, particularly on vital questions such as when and where authors should deposit data for sharing.

The study of journal policies which currently exist found that a large percentage of journals do not have a policy on data sharing, and that there are great inconsistencies between journal data sharing policies. Whilst some journals offered little guidance to authors, others stipulated specific compliance mechanisms. A valuable distinction is made in some policies between two categories of data: integral, which directly supports the arguments and conclusions of the article, and supplementary, which enhanced the article, but was not essential to its argument. What we considered to be the most significant study on journal policies (Piwowar & Chapman, 2008), defined journal data sharing policies as “strong”, “weak” or “non-existent”. A strong policy mandates the deposit of data as a condition of publication, whereas a weak policy merely requests the deposit of data. The  indication from previous studies that researchers’ data sharing behaviour is similarly inconsistent was confirmed by our online survey. However, there is general assent to the data sharing concept and many researchers who would be prepared to submit data for sharing along with the articles they submit to journals.

We then investigated a substantial sample of journal policies to establish our own picture of the policy landscape. A selection of 400 international and national journals were purposefully chosen to represent the top 200 most cited journals (high impact journals), and the bottom 200 least cited (low impact journals), equally shared between Science and Social Science, based on the Thomson Reuters citation index.  Each policy we identified relating to these journals was broken into different aspects such as: what, when and where to deposit data; accessibility of data; types of data; monitoring data compliance and consequences of non compliance. These were then systematically entered onto a matrix for comparison. Where no policy was found, this was indicated on the matrix. Policies were categorised as either being “weak”, only requesting that data is shared, or “strong”, stipulating that data must be shared.

Approximately half the journals examined had no data sharing policy. Nearly three quarters of the policies we found we assessed as weak and only just under one quarter we deemed to be strong (76%: 24%). The high impact journals were found to have the  strongest policies,  whereas not only did fewer low impact journals include a data sharing policy, those policies were  were less likely to stipulate data sharing, merely suggested that it may be done. The policies generally give little guidance on which stage of the publishing process is data expected to be shared.

Throughout the duration of the project, representatives from publishing and other stakeholders were consulted in different ways. Representatives of publishing were selected from a cross section of different types of publishing house; the researchers we consulted were self selected through open invitations by way of the JoRD Blog. Nine of them attend a focus group and 70 answered an online survey. They were drawn from every academic discipline and ranged over a total of 36 different subject areas. During the later phases of the study, a selection of representatives of stakeholder organisations was asked to explore the potential of the proposed JoRD service and to comment on possible business models. These included publishers, librarians, representatives of data centres or repositories, and other interested individuals. This aspect of the investigation included a workshop session with representatives of leading journal publishers in order to assess the potential for funding a JoRD Policy Bank service. Subsequently an analysis of comparator services and organisations was performed, using interviews and desk research.

Our conclusion from the various aspects of the investigation was that although idea of making scientific data openly accessible for share is widely accepted in the scientific community, the practice confronts serious obstacles. The most immediate of these obstacles is the lack of a consolidated infrastructure for the easy sharing of data. In consequence, researchers quite simply do not know how to share their data. At the present juncture, when policies are either not available, or provide inadequate guidance, researchers acknowledge a need for the kind of information that a policy bank would supply. The market base for a JoRD policy bank service would be the research community, and researchers did indicate they believed such a service would be used.

Four levels of possible business models for a JoRD service were identified and finally these were put to a range of stakeholders. These stakeholders found it hard to identify a clear cut option of service level that would be self sustaining. The funding models of similar services and organisations were also investigated. In consequence, an exploratory two phase implementation of a service is suggested. The first phase would be the development of a database of data sharing policies, engagement with stakeholders, third party API development with the intention to build use to the level at which a second phase, a self sustaining model, would be possible.

The shape of a JoRD policy bank service?

We have established that researchers would certainly use a JoRD service, and publishers, repository managers, librarians would all find their own uses for the service. It has already been blogged that an ideal service that contains every item requested by stakeholders would be an expensive and extensive project, so what sort of service could be offered. Four options were devised and market tested on an assortment of stakeholders, academic librarians, publishers, repository managers, researchers, funders and representatives from similar data initiatives. The options were as follows:

  • Basic – an online searchable database of journal data policies, similar in approach to RoMEO
  • Enhanced  – an online searchable database of journal data policies with additional data integration such as funder policies, lists of recommended  repositories, or institutional policies
  • Advisory – as Basic and Enhanced services with the addition of research and advisory services, for example guides and instructions , best practice, model policy,and language, updates
  • Database with Application Programming Interface  (API) – as Basic and Enhanced but with no or minimal web interface but with and API which would allow third-parties to use data and develop applications

Most of the people interviewed thought that the basic option was option they would use.  Here is a table to show that  Possible value propositions. However, it was thought too basic to generate any income and some groups considered that it had limited value on its own. The enhanced service seems to be favoured by publishers, for example the inclusion of funder policies would be more valuable than other publisher’s journal data policies. The Advisory service was the option that most people thought would be the greater value for money, but participants cited other advisory services that could provide the same function as that aspect of JoRD. Finally, the high quality database with API and strong invitation for third party Apps was thought of as being a practical way to create an enhanced service. Unfortunately, none of the options emerged from the consultation as the optimum service which would generate its own income.

So, the shape of a JoRD service is still unknown and the method of funding is still unknown, but what has been achieved is that now there are no unknown, unknowns.

 

What to put in an ideal JoRD service

The Feasibility Study has been asking researchers, representatives of Publishing Houses, repository staff and librarians about their image of an ideal JoRD service to give some sort of indication of how to build a resource that will be useful. So far, the most ideal service which would achieve the desires of all the stakeholders would not only include a database to contain all the details of every journal data sharing policy, cross-matched with funders requirements and lists of suitable repositories but also employ a team of human staff to constantly update the data base, provide customer service and advice about best practice and give educational workshops and seminars. This would be ideal, but expensive, and ideals cannot always be reached, at least not initially.

So, who wants what out of the service? These are the service requirements each stakeholder group suggested.

Researchers would like the service to:

  • Have a clear, visual user friendly website with technical support, and information about the service and its scope
  • Include summaries of policies, RCUK baseline policies, compliance statistics
  • Include the URL of journal policy
  • Provide contact details of researchers

Researchers told us that they would use the service to find the journal which is right for their data and funder’s requirements, find appropriate repositories and to look for openly accessed data.

Publishers asked for:

  • A simple attractive web page
  • An authoritative resource
  • Compliance monitoring and sanction information
  • Technical error reporting
  • Guidance about best practice, current issues, changes and trends and a model policy
  • A policy grading system
  • Levels of membership

Publishers said that they would use the service to gather competitor intelligence, a source of advice and as a central resource to get information about funder’s requirements and accredited repositories.

Both researchers and publishers wanted:

  • Guidelines about data submission,  such as copyright, use licensing, ethical clearance, restrictions and embargoes and file format
  • URLs of places where data can be archived and retrieved

As far as other stakeholders are concerned, librarians  considered that the service could give publication and funding compliance guidance for researchers as well as support research data management policies. Funders thought that the  service could track the development of Journal data policies and influence the data sharing behaviour of researchers. Representatives of repositories thought that a central data policy bank would be a resource where they could check consistency and compliance of journal data policies and possibly identify partner journals. It seems that a JoRD Policy Bank Service would have something to offer for everyone in the research industry. The quest now, as in all research activity, is finding someone who will pay, so that the ideal service will not be such a distant dream.

Data comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes

The JoRD project has not set out to define the term “data” (or the singular form of the word, “datum”). This was a fortunate choice, because one of the messages that has clearly come across from all the participants of our study is that data can take many forms. The recent Royal Society Report, “Science as an Open Enterprise”, (http://royalsociety.org/uploadedFiles/Royal_Society_Content/policy/projects/sape/2012-06-20-SAOE.pdf) includes a glossary of data terms which illustrates the ways in which the term “data” can be used. For example:

  • big data – data that requires massive computing power to process
  • broad data – structured big data
  • data set – a collection of  information held in electronic form
  • linked data – data that has been allocated a unique identifying number to be able to access it from an electronic storage facility

… and those are just a few terms that it explains. The word “Data” is defined as “Qualitative  or  quantitative statement or numbers that are (or assumed to be ) factual”. The researchers that were part of this study considered that their data took more forms that just statements or numbers.

Researchers described the data that their research generated as:  software, video footage, geodata, geological maps, ontologies, web services and data models , as can be seen in the table below. The multitude of forms therefore makes it difficult for publishers to include in their on-line published articles. The publishers said that linked data in a journal article should be  “fit for use” and “replicable” and consider that data in many different formats is “Messy” and currently is not supplied with sufficient meta-data. Another consideration is the resulting file size of an article if the publisher saves the embedded data on their own servers. Data repositories and data centres are the more practical method of data storage with published articles incorporating linked data.

Therefore that is one reason for Journals to have a data policy, and a good argument for those policies to be collected and made accessible in a centralised resource, a JoRD Policy Bank  Service.

Researchers description of data Qualitative(documents and text) Quantitative(figures) Visual data (images) Virtual data (software or protocols)
Collection of examiner reports and questions supervisory reports, letters and other documentary evidence.
Dataset of measurements and statistical analyses
Digitised Textual Sources
Excavation, field observation, environmental monitoring, software to collate mine and analyse
Excel sheets
Focus Group, Interview Transcripts, some footage of people using computers, digital photographs
Geodata
Geologic maps, chemical and isotopic analyses of Earth Materials, GIS datasets
Interview transcripts
Ontologies
Reports
Visualization
Web Services, Data Models and Specifications

Summary of workshop, discussion about the nature of JoRD

Here is another summary of the concluding discussion that took place at the workshop on 13th November. This is about the expectations and perceptions of publishers concerning the nature of the JoRD Data Bank service.

A prominent consideration of the publishers was that JoRD should be an authoritative resource, such that a JoRD compliance stamp, or quality mark, could be displayed on Journal’s websites. There was discussion that for JoRD to be authoritative, the content of the database should be added, updated and maintained by the JoRD team. It was mentioned that publishers might initially populate the data base, but ongoing maintenance would be the responsibility of JoRD. However, there should be a guarantee that the content is accurate and that publishers would need to commit to providing policies that can be machine readable in order for them to be automatically harvested.

It was suggested that the operational database should not be merely a static catalogue or encyclopaedia. It was requested that the non-compliance of a journal to a data sharing policy, or to a funder’s policy, could be flagged and reported to the publisher, although that request was queried as to whether that was the remit of the service, or the publisher themselves. Similarly, it was questioned whether the service would mediate user complaints, and proposed that it would engage with complaints concerning policies only. To maintain functionality, could there be automatic URL checking which would send an alert to the publisher if links were broken.  Updates to policy changes would also be a useful function.

The service website should include a model data policy framework or an example of a standard data policy and offer guidance and advice to journals and funders about policy development. However, the processing and ratification of a model policy could be a time consuming process to some publishers. It was asked whether repository policies would also be included, and there was mention of compliance with the OpenAIRE European repository network. The website should also contain:

  • Links to the publishers web-pages
  • Dates of the records
  • Lists of links to repositories
  • Set of criteria for data hosting repository

It should look inviting, but businesslike and be simple and clear, but be sufficiently detailed.

Methods of funding the service were considered and the benefits of membership. For example, would only the policies of members to the service be entered into the database? Would there be different levels of membership or different service options that publishers could choose? and would there be extra costs for extra services? One such service could be to contain historical records and persistent records to former policies. In the publisher’s opinion, they would be prepared to pay for a service that is transparent and would save them time.

Other comments included:

  • Would the service be a member of the World Data System?
  • Could it be released in Beta?
  • There are around 4-600 titles to enter initially
  • When set up the service could be studied to discover its effectiveness and impact
  • Further consultation may be needed

Very brief summary of JoRD workshop

On Tuesday 13th November some of the JoRD team met with representatives of several well known journal publishers for workshop a session to discuss a number of points concerning the potential JoRD data bank service. This is a very potted summary of the discussions that took place. If any of the attendees are reading this and feel that their comments have not been correctly interpreted, then please comment to correct any misunderstandings.

Preservation of and sustained access to published supplementary material: The current situation
The group perceived that at present there are a variety of issues that impede the maintenance of data added to an on-line journal as supplementary material, or even the practice of including data within an article. The areas where difficulties lie include:
• Technology
• Data repositories
• Embargoes
• Peer review
• Licensing
• Copyright
Unstable URLs, PDF formats and usable forms of preserved data present technological problems that need to be solved to ensure that data can be accessed in the long term. However, transferring data to new formats has fewer difficulties. Data may be linked to external repositories, but they present a problem because they each have different policies and practices. Embargoes placed on data release complicates matters, there is not standard for their length. To overcome these issues, an alternative solution would be not to include the data file with the article but to add information of where it can be obtained directly from the researcher. However, on-line journals will be upgrading to enriched HTML and should therefore commit to include data.

The group were concerned about the peer review of data, which is currently “Ad Hoc”. It was queried whether peer reviewers have time to examine data alongside judging arguments and suggested that data is reviewed by the research community. Currently publishers’ practices concerning licensing and copyrighting of data as supplementary material vary greatly. However EU legislation does not allow data to be copyrighted. Authors could be offered choices of licensing and work is being done to define data and on forms of data citation, however, publishers do feel a duty of care to the knowledge that they publish.

About data repositories: Advantages and disadvantages
Ideally, publishers would like repositories to be a searchable archive that manages data and collects retrospectively, such as the library of Columbia University gathering data for PLOS.

Advantages

  • The situation for publishers would be made simpler should data be held in external repositories
  • Technically more able to deal with digital data
  • Guidelines about re-depositing data if closed
  • Institutional repositories could manage data then aggregate it as in Australia

Disadvantages

  • May want to take over from publishers
  •  Not currently ready for influx of data
  • Funding may not be sustained
  • Discovery issues

Solutions to any of the issues posed above are not given in this post, but there is opportunity for you to comment. The remainder of the discussion focused on the structuring and content of a JoRD Policy Bank service, which will be summarised in the next post.