Abysmal state of data sharing: only *one* out of ten authors of published PLoS ONE papers was willing to supply original dataset on request
|Contributed by:||Gudmundur A Thorisson|
|Originally posted:||28th September 2009: 11:14 am|
|Public - anyone can view|
In the wake of the recent Nature special issue on data sharing, I saw Cameron Neylon's blog post on a study published in PLoS ONE last week[fn]Savage and Vickers. Empirical Study of Data Sharing by Authors Publishing in PLoS Journals. PLoS ONE (2009) vol. 4 (9) doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0007078[/fn] that I hadn't seen. I heartily agree with Cameron and the numerous commentators on FriendFeed here and here. As the authors of the paper conclude, journal policies on data sharing clearly are not effective.
Empirical Study of Data Sharing by Authors Publishing in PLoS Journals
Caroline J. Savage, Andrew J. Vickers
Background: Many journals now require authors share their data with other investigators, either by depositing the data in a public repository or making it freely available upon request. These policies are explicit, but remain largely untested. We sought to determine how well authors comply with such policies by requesting data from authors who had published in one of two journals with clear data sharing policies.
Methods and Findings: We requested data from ten investigators who had published in either PLoS Medicine or PLoS Clinical Trials. All responses were carefully documented. In the event that we were refused data, we reminded authors of the journal’s data sharing guidelines. If we did not receive a response to our initial request, a second request was made. Following the ten requests for raw data, three investigators did not respond, four authors responded and refused to share their data, two email addresses were no longer valid, and one author requested further details. A reminder of PLoS’s explicit requirement that authors share data did not change the reply from the four authors who initially refused. Only one author sent an original data set.
Conclusions: We received only one of ten raw data sets requested. This suggests that journal policies requiring data sharing do not lead to authors making their data sets available to independent investigators.