Open data: growing pains | Research Information

“In its latest State of Open Data survey, Figshare revealed that a hefty 64 per cent of respondents made their data openly available in 2018.

The percentage, up four per cent from last year and seven per cent from 2016, indicates a healthy awareness of open data and for Daniel Hook, chief executive of Figshare’s parent company, Digital Science, it spells good news….

For example, the majority of respondents – 63 per cent – support national mandates for open data, an eight  per cent rise from 2017. And, at the same time, nearly half of the respondents – 46 per cent – reckon data citations motivate them to make data openly available. This figure is up seven per cent from last year….

Yet, amid the data-sharing success stories, myriad worries remain. Top of the pile is the potential for data misuse….

Inappropriate sharing of data is another key concern….

Results indicated that a mighty 58 per cent of respondents felt they do not receive sufficient credit for sharing data, while only nine per cent felt they do….

Coko recently won funding from the Sloan Foundation to build DataSeer, an online service that will use Natural Language Processing to identify datasets that are associated with a particular article. …”

The Landscape of Open Data Policies

Transparency is essential for scientific progress. Access to underlying data and materials allows us to make progress through new discoveries and to better evaluate reported findings, which increases trust in science. However, there are challenges to changing norms of scientific practice. Culture change is a slow process because of inertia and the fear of unintended consequences.

One barrier to change that we encounter as we advocate to journals for more data sharing is an editor’s uncertainty about how their publisher will react to such a change. Will they help implement that policy? Will they discourage it because of uncertainty about how it might affect submission numbers or citation rates? With uncertainty, inaction seems to be easier.

Promoting an open research culture: Author guidelines for journals could help to promote transparency, openness, and reproducibility

“There are eight standards in the TOP guidelines; each moves scientific communication toward greater openness. These standards are modular, facilitating adoption in whole or in part. However, they also complement each other, in that commitment to one standard may facilitate adoption of others. Moreover, the guidelines are sensitive to barriers to openness by articulating, for example, a process for exceptions to sharing because of ethical issues, intellectual property concerns, or availability of necessary resources. The complete guidelines are available in the TOP information commons at, along with a list of signatories that numbered 86 journals and 26 organizations as of 15 June 2015. …

The journal article is central to the research communication process. Guidelines for authors define what aspects of the research process should be made available to the community to evaluate, critique, reuse, and extend. Scientists recognize the value of transparency, openness, and reproducibility. Improvement of journal policies can help those values become more evident in daily practice and ultimately improve the public trust in science, and science itself.” 

BITSS Preprints | Why We Need Open Policy Analysis

Abstract:  The evidence-based policy movement promotes the use of empirical evidence to inform policy decision-making. While this movement has gained traction over the last two decades, several concerns about the credibility of empirical research have been identified in scientific disciplines that use research methods and practices that are commonplace in policy analysis. As a solution, we argue that policy analysis should adopt the transparent, open, and reproducible research practices espoused in related disciplines. We first discuss the importance of evidence-based policy in an era of increasing disagreement about facts, analysis, and expertise. We then review recent credibility crises of empirical research (difficulties reproducing results), their causes (questionable research practices such as publication biases and p-hacking), and their relevance to the credibility of evidence-based policy (trust in policy analysis). The remainder of the paper makes the case for “open” policy analysis and how to achieve it. We include examples of recent policy analyses that have incorporated open research practices such as transparent reporting, open data, and code sharing. We conclude with recommendations on how key stakeholders in evidence-based policy can make open policy analysis the norm and thus safeguard trust in using empirical evidence to inform important policy decisions.

Promoting an Open Research Culture: The TOP Guidelines for Journals (version 2)

“By developing shared standards for open practices across journals, we hope to translate scientific norms and values into concrete actions and change the current incentive structures to drive researchers’ behavior toward more openness. Although there are some idiosyncratic issues by discipline, we sought to produce guidelines that focus on the commonalities across disciplines….”