Are Researchers More Likely to Share Their Data When Their Funders Tell Them To?

[From the article, “A funder-imposed data publication requirement seldom inspired data sharing” by Jessica Couture, Rachael Blake, Gavin McDonald, and Colette Ward, published in PLOS One]
“…In this study, we tested the ability to recover data collected under a particular funder-imposed requirement of public availability.”
“…We focused our study on the data-collection of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council (EVOSTC) funded projects. The EVOSTC was created in 1989 to manage public monetary damages by Exxon Corporation following the Exxon Valdez oil spill in the Gulf of Alaska, and has funded hundreds of research projects since its inception. The EVOSTC requires the public availability of data within one year of data collection for all recipients of their grants, but does not specify archiving methods nor does it provide a specific data publication platform.”
“…EVOSTC grants have funded work conducted by an array of institutional or agency sectors (government entities, private consulting firms, universities, Alaskan native groups) working in a variety of scientific disciplines.”
“…Data were obtained from 81 of the 315 data projects funded from 1989–2010 resulting in recovery of data from 26% of funded projects. Of the 81 projects for which data were recovered, 60 (19% of total, 74% of recovered) provided enough metadata and documentation to create formal archives of the data, while 21 datasets (7% of total) did not include enough information to publish.”
“The team received no data from 234 projects, 23% of which received no reply following outreach and 49% of which lost communication before data were provided.”
“…The low recovery rate (26%) we obtained is similar to published data recovery rates testing journals with reporting requirements (see Wollins 1962 who reported a 24% recovery rate, Wichert et al. 2006 who reported 26%, Savage & Vickers 2009 who reported 10%, Vines et al. 2014 who reported 19%, Stodden et al. 2018 who reported 44% recovery).”
“…The open science movement has developed new technologies and worked to move science for-ward with a culture of data sharing. However, as this study shows, it is still very difficult to obtain data that are required by the funder to be shared.”
To read the article, click here.

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