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Friday, June 01, 2007

Data sharing policies at 10 journals

Heather Piwowar, Diverse journal requirements for data sharing, Research Remix, May 30, 2007.  Excerpt:

Many academic journals make sharing research data a requirement for publication, but their policies vary widely. I’ve been wanting to understand this better: below is a summary of my Tuesday Morning Delve into the world of “Information for Authors”.

I selected 10 journals, two from each of the following ad hoc categories: general science (Nature and Science), medicine (JAMA and NEJM), oncology (JCO and Cancer), genetics (Human Molecular Genetics and PLoS Computational Biology), and bioinformatics (Bioinformatics and BMC Bioinformatics). The results are obviously just the tip of the iceberg, but I found them enlightening.

Nature has the most stringent requirements, followed closely by Science. These journals required data sharing for the most diverse types of data, specified acceptable databases,escrow requirements, and actually had “teeth” clauses… they specify a statement of consequences for times when you ask for data and the authors don’t provide it.

The medical journals do have requirements for clinical trials registries, and sometimes suggestions for data inclusion based on clinical trial design, though they have no mention of requirements or encouragement for sharing (obviously deidentified) research data except that NEJM requires sharing microarray data....

These rough conclusions of mine are consistent with Table 2-1, “Policies on Sharing Materials and Data of 56 Most Frequently Cited Journals”, in Sharing Publication-Related Data and Materials: Responsibilities of Authorship in the Life Sciences (2003)....

Conclusions: kuddos to Nature and Science. I’m surprised that the policies of other journals are so lax....

[See] Summarized table [and] Policy Excerpts....