The JoRD-project (Journal Research Data Policies ) recently has published some final results. As mentioned in one of my previous blog posts, the JoRD-project -which was funded by JISC as part of its Digital Infrastructure Programme- aims to conduct a feasibility study into the scope and shape of a sustainable service that will collate and summarise journal data policies. The purpose of the service would be to provide a ready reference source of easily accessible, standardised, accurate and clear guidance and information, on the journal policy landscape relating to research data.
The JoRD-project obtained many very interesting results that are also in line with the results of one of our studies, where we analyzed the data policies found in a sample of more than 140 economics journals.
Let’s have a look at some of JoRD’s findings:
The study of journal policies which currently exist found that a large percentage of journals do not have a policy on data sharing, and that there are great inconsistencies between journal data sharing policies. Whilst some journals offered little guidance to authors, others stipulated specific compliance mechanisms.
…I would sign these findings also for our own approach, when we analysed data policies of economics journals.
Following the terms of Piwowar and Chapman (2008) JoRD defined journal data sharing policies as “strong”, “weak” or “non-existent”. A strong policy mandates the deposit of data as a condition of publication, whereas a weak policy merely requests the deposit of data.
For their survey JoRD used a selection of 400 international and national journals that represent the top 200 most cited journals (high impact journals), and the bottom 200 least cited (low impact journals), equally shared between Science and Social Science, based on the Thomson Reuters citation index.
Each policy JoRD identified relating to these journals was broken into different aspects such as: what, when and where to deposit data; accessibility of data; types of data; monitoring data compliance and consequences of non compliance. These were then systematically entered onto a matrix for comparison.
Approximately half the journals examined had no data sharing policy. Nearly three quarters of the policies we found we assessed as weak and only just under one quarter we deemed to be strong (76%: 24%). The high impact journals were found to have the strongest policies, whereas not only did fewer low impact journals include a data sharing policy, those policies were were less likely to stipulate data sharing, merely suggested that it may be done. The policies generally give little guidance on which stage of the publishing process is data expected to be shared.
In addition to the analyses of data policies, the JoRD project also consulted representatives from publishing and other stakeholders from every academic discipline. Many of them participated in an online survey and some even in a focus group. A selection of representatives of stakeholder organisations furthermore was asked to explore the potential of the proposed JoRD service and to comment on possible business models. Publishers, librarians, representatives of data centres or repositories, and other interested individuals took part.
JoRD came to an interesting conclusion:
Our conclusion from the various aspects of the investigation was that although idea of making scientific data openly accessible for share is widely accepted in the scientific community, the practice confronts serious obstacles. The most immediate of these obstacles is the lack of a consolidated infrastructure for the easy sharing of data. In consequence, researchers quite simply do not know how to share their data. At the present juncture, when policies are either not available, or provide inadequate guidance, researchers acknowledge a need for the kind of information that a policy bank would supply.
Therefore we face many challenges. Even if some results of our own analyses for economics suggest that the idea of making scientific data openly accessible are not widespread among economists, the outcome of our own project will make a contribution to improve at least the situation for a consolidated infrastructure for sharing publication-related data in economics.
Graphic: http://www.cyberseraphic. com/