Discussion on Data Sharing @SpotOnLondon


This Friday Chris Taylor (@chrisftaylor) and I (@AmyeKenall) will be chairing a session at SpotOn London on data sharing—specifically, how to develop a culture of data sharing. What drives researchers to share? And how can funders and publishers use that knowledge to create policies that incentivise researchers to share their data? We have some great panellists to help us initiate discussion around such questions, such as Theodora Bloom from PLoS and Dave Carr from the Wellcome Trust, amongst others. We’ve divided the session by perspective—funder, journal, industry, society. We have a Google Doc open to everyone, and we hope to add any tips or anything referenced during the session to that doc. In the meantime, here’s a little taster of what’s to come (10:30-11:30 am on Friday at the British Library).


View from Funder

  • Can funders use incentives rather than sanctions to foster a culture of sharing? Or is a mix needed? Perhaps not a carrot and stick but a benefit and a cost. For example, the economist Paula Stephan says of incentives, “A good incentive provides benefits for scientists who make a positive contribution and imposes costs on activity that detracts from the system. A bad incentive provides benefits with minimal costs.”  


View from Journal

  • How can journals encourage and enable scientists to share their data?
  • The current incentives for scientists are mainly focussed on publications and their citations as a way to earn “points” towards tenure/promotion and future grants. As a result, some attention focusses on the idea of a separate publication credit for data, but this risks reinforcing a suboptimal system of incentives and requiring separate types of output for the narrative description of research vs the data. Alternative article-level metrics are better than impact factors for measuring the research impact of articles; can they similarly help incentivise data sharing?
  • And how much is the problem just that it’s unnecessarily hard to share data, and we need to make it easier?
  •   How important is it to connect the data with its story? Of course, a researcher should be connected to all his/her output, but if the ultimate aim is that researchers receive equal credit for all of their outputs, what do we need to do to ensure we don’t propagate a broken system over-focussed on narrative?
  • What about Open Badges a la Mozilla as a possible form of credit?


And industry’s perspective or societies’? See you there! And follow us on Twitter #solo13stick.




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