Data Sharing: The View from the Publishers

[From the article “Implementing publisher policies that inform, support and encourage authors to share data: two case studies” by Leila Jones, Rebecca Grant, and Iain Hrynaszkiewicz, published in Insights: the UKSG journal]
“As scholarly journals and publishers find themselves at the heart of the shift towards openness, it is not surprising that 2017–2018 saw an increase in data-sharing policies from major publishers, resulting in a significant number of scholarly journals with policies aiming to increase transparency.”
“In this article we present two case studies which examine the experiences that two different publishers have had in rolling out data-sharing policies.”
“Taylor and Francis data-sharing policies are tiered, with the five standard policies offering increasing levels of expectations around how and when data should be shared. The basic … encourages authors to share and cite data.”
– “basic: journal authors are encouraged to share and make data open where this does not violate protection of human subjects or other valid subject privacy concerns. Authors are further encouraged to cite data and provide a data availability statement.”
– “share upon reasonable request: authors agree to make their data available upon reasonable request. It’s up to the author to determine whether a request is reasonable. Data availability statements are mandatory.”
– publicly available: authors make their data freely available to the public under a licence of their choice. Data availability statements are mandatory.
– “open data: authors must make their data freely available to the public, under a licence allowing re-use by any third party for any lawful purpose. Data availability statements and data citation are mandatory. Data shall be findable and fully accessible.”
– “open and fully FAIR: authors must make their data freely available to the public under a licence allowing reuse by any third party for any lawful purpose. Data availability statements and data citation are mandatory. Additionally, data must meet with FAIR standards as established in the relevant subject area.”
“As of the end of 2018, over 1,600 journals published by Taylor & Francis (which includes over 300 journals published in conjunction with a learned society) have the basic data-sharing policy in place. (See Figure 1, showing the percentage of these journals by subject area.) Additional journals are agreeing on a regular basis.”
TRN1(20190404)
“It is fair to say that the response to the launch of our policies has been polarized, with some partners describing the change as ‘important and valuable’ while other editors or society officers expressed feeling ‘alarmed’ and ‘not enthusiastic’ about the prospect of open data for their subject area or journal(s).”
“Our decision to focus on driving adoption of our basic policy (where the key word is ‘encourage’) in the first year naturally has pros and cons. We still have a lot of work to do to move journals on to more progressive policies, but we look forward to working with our partners on that priority in 2019 and beyond.”
“Challenges aside, we have succeeded in rolling out a data-sharing policy for a significant number of journals in a short time. In doing so, we are exposing a large number of authors to the notion of a data-sharing policy. We are facilitating conversations about the benefits of open practices and encouraging changes to existing behaviours around data. We think that is a valuable starting point.”
“Springer Nature began rolling out standard research data policies in 2016….Four standard policy types are available, with increasingly stringent requirements for data sharing by authors as they progress from Type 1 through to the Type 4 policy.”
– “Type 1 journals: authors are encouraged to share their data, preferably in repositories, and to cite publicly available data sets in their reference lists.”
– “Type 2 journals: authors are strongly encouraged to share their data, preferably in repositories, and to cite publicly available data in their reference lists. Authors are also encouraged to include a statement of data availability with their manuscript.”
– “Type 3 journals: authors are strongly encouraged to share their data, preferably in repositories, and to cite publicly available data in their reference lists. Authors are required to include a statement of data availability with their manuscript.”
– “Type 4 journals: authors are required to share their data in a repository, to include a statement of data availability with their manuscript, and to make their data available for peer review.”
“As of November 2018, more than 1,500 journals Springer Nature have a standard policy, with additional journals being implemented on a weekly basis. At time of writing in early 2019, 39% of the journals with a policy have Type 1, 34% have Type 2, 26% Type 3, and less than one per cent (six journals) have Type 4 (Figure 2). …In due course, it is anticipated that more journals will adopt the higher-level policies, and the publisher has an important role in supporting and enabling this transition.”
TRN2(20190404)
“A key aspect of the Type 2, 3 and 4 data policies at Springer Nature is the recommendation (or requirement) that an author includes a statement of data availability with their manuscript. …The use of these statements provides a standardized way for authors to describe how their data are shared. Data availability statements do not necessarily mean data are readily available, as authors may still choose to share data on request, or state that their study did not generate or analyse data.”
“The implementation of data policies can be a driver for these statements becoming a standard feature across published research,…. Data availability statements were first introduced in 2016 by Nature Research journals, bringing their policies in line with Springer Nature’s Type 3 data policy, and have since been made into a distinct section of each article, similar to the methods section. This gives information on data availability similar prominence to Methods and Results…”
“The two case studies described in this paper demonstrate the common concerns of publishers in providing standard research data policies to their authors. … While encouraging good practice, policies must also be developed to reflect the culture of the discipline they apply to, and publishers must ensure that researchers understand what their obligations are. …Compliance is also key, and where policies mandate certain behaviours (such as the inclusion of data availability statements in published papers), editorial staff must be trained and resourced to make the required checks.”
To read the article, click here.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: