A Nature editorial on data sharing.
A fair share
Nature 444, 653-654 (7 December 2006) | doi:10.1038/444653b; Published online 6 December 2006
Many of the points made for psychology are also relevant in biomedicine. For example, “Their discipline is ‘softer’ than some others: rarely do data on issues such as playground bullying or the usefulness of psychotherapy reveal really clear-cut answers.” A lack of clear-cut answers certainly sounds familiar to those working in cancer genetics.
The article discusses the sorry state of data sharing, theoretical reasons why it might be that way, and a few potential solutions. Good stuff, but the editorial failed to dig into their promising first sentence.
“The concept of sharing primary data is generating unnecessary angst in the psychology community.”
Does the concept of sharing data generate unnecessary angst? Does it actually generate angst, or is it mostly laziness or selfishness or fear? If angst, is the angst indeed unwarranted? To what extent does sharing data in fact lead to additional stresses for authors?
I’d love to see research into the reasons why scientists do not share data, and whether their reasons are upheld by events. This knowledge would allow us to address the underlying issues deterring authors from making their data available, which is bound to be more effective for long-term goals than simply relying on requirements from funding agencies and journals.