Research Remix

May 30, 2007

Diverse journal requirements for data sharing [Repost]

Filed under: publishingdata — Heather Piwowar @ 9:05 am

Reposted 6/11/2007, because I deleted it by mistake. Sorry about that!

Originally posted 5/30/2007.

Many academic journals make sharing research data a requirement for publication, but their policies vary widely. I’ve been wanting to understand this better: below is a summary of my Tuesday Morning Delve into the world of “Information for Authors”.

I selected 10 journals, two from each of the following ad hoc categories: general science (Nature and Science), medicine (JAMA and NEJM), oncology (JCO and Cancer), genetics (Human Molecular Genetics and PLoS Computational Biology), and bioinformatics (Bioinformatics and BMC Bioinformatics). The results are obviously just the tip of the iceberg, but I found them enlightening.

Nature has the most stringent requirements, followed closely by Science. These journals required data sharing for the most diverse types of data, specified acceptable databases,escrow requirements, and actually had “teeth” clauses… they specify a statement of consequences for times when you ask for data and the authors don’t provide it.

The medical journals do have requirements for clinical trials registries, and sometimes suggestions for data inclusion based on clinical trial design, though they have no mention of requirements or encouragement for sharing (obviously deidentified) research data except that NEJM requires sharing microarray data.

I’m out of time this morning to highlight the other findings, but you can have a look for yourself below.

These rough conclusions of mine are consistent with Table 2-1, “Policies on Sharing Materials and Data of 56 Most Frequently Cited Journals”, in [Sharing Publication-Related Data and Materials: Responsibilities of Authorship in the Life Sciences (2003). National Research Council of the National Acadamies]:
Their more exhaustive (though dated) analysis also suggests that few clinical-medicine journals have a policy, or if they do it rarely mentions depositing data. About half the life-science journals have some kind of a policy about depositing data. Almost no journals have a statement of consequences.

Conclusions: kuddos to Nature and Science. I’m surprised that the policies of other journals are so lax.

Not sure this analysis is worth digging into more deeply. It isn’t quite where my research is headed, though I do believe the trends would be informative. If anyone else wants to use this as a starting point, have at it!

{Tried to post table here, but can’t get it to display nicely}

Summarized table:

Raw Policy Excerpts:


  1. I had a (less systematic) look at this a while back, and came to much the same conclusion: that current Open Data policies are pretty much toothless tigers in terms of enforcement, and leave implementation completely up to authors.One way to standardize things might be to get authors to adopt Peter Murray-Rust’s idea of an Open Data addendum (like, and usable in conjunction with, the SPARC/Science Commons Author Addendum for OA).Comment by Bill — May 30, 2007 @ 10:33 am
  2. […] Diverse journal requirements for data sharing Filed under: publishingdata — Heather Piwowar @ 9:04 am Many academic journals make sharing research data a requirement for publication, but their policies vary widely…. Pingback by Unilever Centre for Molecular Informatics, Cambridge – petermr’s blog » Blog Archive » Open Data in biomedical science — May 30, 2007 @ 5:22 pm


  1. […] policy, publication — Heather Piwowar @ 1:00 pm Inspired by the reception to this blog post, I systematically reviewed journal data sharing policies with gene expression microarray data as a […]

    Pingback by A review of journal policies for sharing research data « Research Remix — March 20, 2008 @ 1:00 pm

  2. Отличный блог, интересное и полезное содержание!

    Comment by paiquesse — April 10, 2009 @ 1:18 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: