EDaWaX: Final spurt

Posted: May 3rd, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Conference, EDaWaX | Tags: , | Comments Off on EDaWaX: Final spurt

400_presentationSlowly but steady, the EDaWaX project draws to a close. For me a good point in time to outline some of the final steps of our project.

First of all, we are very much engaged in transforming EDaWaX from a project to a regular service for scholarly journals in economic sciences. Therefore we still have a lot of work to do: There are still some issues to solve on the level of software engineering. Currently we are also in the process of improving some of the application’s features and to update the documentation. Nevertheless the software for journals in economics and business research already is available. Starting in the next months we will offer our service (a publication-related data archive) free of charge for editorial offices.

Second, we will present some rescent results of the project at national and international conferences, in roadshows and on annual meetings of learned societies in economics and business studies.

This program starts in two weeks in Munich, where we will disucss the topic of managing research data with the editors of journals in business research and present our software solution at the annual meeting of the German Association for Business Research (VHB), the German learned society for business studies.

Subsequently we will give some presentations at international conferences: We start with a presentation at this year’s IASSIST-conference in Bergen / Norway, where we present the outcome of a new study. In the abstract of our paper we stated:

Our paper reports the findings of two empirical studies on journals in economics and business studies. In a first study, we analysed a sample of 346 journals for the availability and the specifications of data policies that ask authors of data-based research articles to provide replication files in addition to their papers. We also exposed the differences and commonalities of journals’ data policies in both branches of economic research.

In a second study, we evaluated the articles published in two issues by journals equipped with a data availability policy. We present the share of data-based articles that fall under such a data policy, because replication data is needed to verify the published results. Subsequently we analysed the data archives and supplemental information section of each article for the availability of replication files.

To conclude, we chose a sub-sample of these articles and checked for each article, whether the article and potentially available replication files are compliant to the requirements of the respective journal’s data policy.

Our findings indicate that there is still a long way to go until journals in economic sciences comprehensively foster replicable research. Currently only a small minority does so. Also we found big discrepancies between journals in economics and business studies: While especially journals in economics are in a state of flux – more than a quarter of them already have implemented a data availability policy – our results indicate that journals in business studies lag far behind. When it comes to compliance to own data policies, we found light and shadow: While some journals archived high compliances rates, an appreciable part of journals obviously did not care about their own data policies at all.

One month later, we will present some lessons learned from our project at this year’s LIBER-conference in Helsinki / Finland.

The principles of validity, reliability and replicability are fundamental cornerstones of the scientific method. But despite the importance for research to be replicable, many scholarly journals still fail to support reproducibility of published empirical research. One of the main reasons is based on the lack of suitable data disclosure policies and corresponding data archives. In my paper, I trace the history of one of ZBW’s (Leibniz Information Centre for Economics) first research data management projects (EDaWaX) from a research project towards a regular service for editors of economic journals. The project consortium consisted of researchers, editors, information scientists and (at a later stage) staff from a German research data centre which can be seen as a prerequisite to successfully develop suitable services for the economic community.
EDaWaX began with limited knowledge in the field of data policies from economic journals: In the last decades, only a handful of publications on this topic have been published. Therefore the project firstly started with broader analyses on journals in economics and business studies. These journals have been evaluated whether they have a policy which aims to involve the research data used for econometric or statistical analyses in the publication process. In addition, the project empirically explored the data sharing behaviour of economists and developed an economic model on how researchers deal with such policies. The analyses phase of the project terminated with a study on data storage services for publication-related research data in research data centres in Germany and abroad.
Equipped with these new insights, EDaWaX started to develop a software which intends to facilitate the management of research data for editorial offices in the social sciences.
Especially in the phase of the software development the cooperation with the research community was crucial for the acceptance of the newly developed research infrastructure by economists. The close connection within the project consortium massively helped in discussions about the amount of metadata fields, user rights and workflows. Such formulation of requirements by the community was one key part; an evaluation of the project’s software application by more than 15 editors in the social sciences and on annual meetings of learned societies for economics and business studies was another.
My paper will present the major outcomes of the EDaWaX project and will also include some lessons learned, especially with respect to the roll-out of an information infrastructure for a dedicated research community.

Im am looking forward to meeting some of you at one of these conferences!


Image: “presentation outline” by Sean MacEntee on flickr.com. License: CC-BY 2.0

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