Enforcing public data archiving policies in academic publishing: A study of ecology journals

Dan Sholler, Karthik Ram, Carl Boettiger, Daniel S. Katz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

To improve the quality and efficiency of research, groups within the scientific community seek to exploit the value of data sharing. Funders, institutions, and specialist organizations are developing and implementing strategies to encourage or mandate data sharing within and across disciplines, with varying degrees of success. Academic journals in ecology and evolution have adopted several types of public data archiving policies requiring authors to make data underlying scholarly manuscripts freely available. The effort to increase data sharing in the sciences is one part of a broader “data revolution” that has prompted discussion about a paradigm shift in scientific research. Yet anecdotes from the community and studies evaluating data availability suggest that these policies have not obtained the desired effects, both in terms of quantity and quality of available datasets. We conducted a qualitative, interview-based study with journal editorial staff and other stakeholders in the academic publishing process to examine how journals enforce data archiving policies. We specifically sought to establish who editors and other stakeholders perceive as responsible for ensuring data completeness and quality in the peer review process. Our analysis revealed little consensus with regard to how data archiving policies should be enforced and who should hold authors accountable for dataset submissions. Themes in interviewee responses included hopefulness that reviewers would take the initiative to review datasets and trust in authors to ensure the completeness and quality of their datasets. We highlight problematic aspects of these thematic responses and offer potential starting points for improvement of the public data archiving process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalBig Data and Society
Volume6
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

Fingerprint

Ecology
ecology
Availability
Academic publishing
stakeholder
Data sharing
scientific community
peer review
qualitative interview
Stakeholders
Completeness
editor
paradigm
staff
efficiency

Keywords

  • data infrastructures
  • data policy
  • Open data
  • public data archiving
  • public data archiving policies
  • scholarly publishing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Information Systems
  • Information Systems and Management
  • Communication
  • Library and Information Sciences

Cite this

Enforcing public data archiving policies in academic publishing : A study of ecology journals. / Sholler, Dan; Ram, Karthik; Boettiger, Carl; Katz, Daniel S.

In: Big Data and Society, Vol. 6, No. 1, 01.01.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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