Research Works Act: Partial victory for Open Access

Posted: February 29th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Data Sharing, Opinion | Tags: , , | Comments Off on Research Works Act: Partial victory for Open Access

telepolis yesterday reported that the Research Works Act was pulled back. The bill has caused a lot of trouble within the Open-Access and Open-Data Community:  HR 3699 would have prevented agencies of the federal government from requiring public access to federally subsidized research.

A major supporter of the bill, Elsevier, has withdrawed its support for the Research Works Act – only hours before the the co-sponsors of the bill,  Darrell Issa (Republican) and Carolyn Maloney (Democrats) declared the end of the legislation process. It’s interesting (but not surprising) that after Elsevier withdrawed its support, the whole bill was stopped. Someone might think, that this course of action shows the real backers of the bill.

Read the rest of this entry »

Incentives for Data Sharing: £8.000 a year for promoting open data!

Posted: February 15th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Data Sharing | Tags: , | Comments Off on Incentives for Data Sharing: £8.000 a year for promoting open data!

When I first heard, that the Panton Fellowships offer the possibility to get £8.000 bucks in a year for making scientific data open, I thought this was a joke. Some kind of an idea that might only cause windfall gains by scientists needing a funding budget. But it is worth taking a deeper look:

The Panton Fellowships are funded by the Open Society Foundations. The coordination is done by the Open Knowledge Foundation. The Fellowshops will be awarded to scientists who actively promote open data in science.

Read the rest of this entry »

Introducing DRYAD

Posted: January 6th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Data Sharing, Projects | Tags: | Comments Off on Introducing DRYAD

Today I want to introduce Dryad – maybe many of you know it already because it is not a project that has  just started, but a repository that was initially released in 2008.

As mentioned, Dryad is an international repository of data underlying peer-reviewed articles in the basic and applied biosciences, including biomedicine.

Dryad enables scientists to validate published findings, explore new analysis methodologies, repurpose data for research questions unanticipated by the original authors, and perform synthetic studies.

Dryad is governed by a consortium of journals that collaboratively promote data archiving and ensure the sustainability of the repository. Actually, Dryad contains 1228 data packages and 2953 data files, associated with articles in 100 journals.

Read the rest of this entry »

Nature Magazine Special Issue: Data Replication & Repoducibility

Posted: December 22nd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Data Sharing | Tags: , | Comments Off on Nature Magazine Special Issue: Data Replication & Repoducibility

The nature magazine has just published a special issue about data replication and reproducibility.

In their introduction the authors are claiming that replication is considered the scientific gold standard. To give a broader view about replication, the journal explores some of the issues associated with the replication of results in different scientific disciplines as for example primate cognition and behaviour research, computer sciences, biology and climate change studies.

Worth reading is the Editorial by J. Crocker and L. Cooper that is dealing with the fraud of Diederik Stapel and raises the question “what could be done to protect science and the public from fraud in the future?”. The answer of the authors, both psychologists, is:

“Greater transparency with data, including depositing data in repositories where they can be accessed by other scientists […], might have sped up detection of this fraud, and it would certainly make researchers more careful about the analyses that they publish.”

Read the rest of this entry »

The Social Life of Data

Posted: November 8th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Data Sharing, Research Data | Tags: , | 1 Comment »

Martin Hall, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Salford, addresses in his blogpost some interesting questions and positions related to open data:

First he states that access to and use of data may be shaped as much by social conventions as by available technology.

He quotes a report published by NESTA and RIN to illustrate what he means:

“Cultures vary in different disciplines, which can itself cause difficulties in cross-disciplinary work; but researchers are typically both co-operative and competitive. The key currency for securing competitive career rewards is publication of articles, conference papers and monographs; and many researchers regard the data and other resources that they create in the course of their research as their intellectual capital which they wish to exploit and mine in order to produce new publications over an extended period. Some researchers fear that openness involves a loss of control, and a risk of being scooped by others”.

Read the rest of this entry »

Data Publishing: arguably a good thing-but there isn’t that much of it. Why?

Posted: November 3rd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Data Sharing | Tags: , , | Comments Off on Data Publishing: arguably a good thing-but there isn’t that much of it. Why?

“If the data and related metadata collected for impact evaluations was more readily discoverable, searchable, and made available, the world would be a better place. “

With this global statement Markus Goldstein, a researcher of the World Bank, started his blogpost about a better access to impact evaluation data.  For Goldstein, the advantages to access this kind of data are overwhelming:

“It would be easier to replicate studies and, in the process, to expand them by for example: trying other outcome indicators; checking robustness; and looking for heterogeneity effects (e.g. gender). There is also a wealth of other things one could do with the related metadata, including: looking at how different wording of survey questions generates different answers and getting parameters for power calculations. Last but not least, making these data available would allow for a wide range of non-impact evaluation research.”
As reasons why researchers -despite all these great advantages- do not share their data, Goldstein states mainly three major concerns:
  1. The first is that researchers need some return on their investment – they spend a lot of time developing the instruments, negotiating the entire set up of both the survey and the evaluation, acquiring money and so on.
  2. The second reason: making data available is a painfull job he claims, because a lot of variables have to be documented – and all this in a somewhat friendly format. The whole issue get’s even more painfull, if some part of the data considers confidential information, because this takes even more careful attention.
  3. Third, there are no rewards or incentives in the economics profession as a whole for bearing this cost or pain.
Read the rest of this entry »