How can journal data sharing policies be more prevalent and effective?

Ms Natasha Simons1, Ms Kate LeMay1

1Australian National Data Service, Brisbane, Australia

 

This presentation will introduce the international and Australasian context for the growing uptake of journal data availability policies, including the drivers and barriers for the creation and implementation of these policies. It will discuss ways in which the eResearch Australasia community can engage with publishers and journal editors to support journal data availability policies and to offer a trusted repository for data deposit.  The Research Data Alliance Interest Group on Data Policy Standardisation and Implementation has been active in addressing these issues and it encourages contributions. Finally, this presentation will reflect on the 2017 Australian Social Sciences and Health and Medical roundtables which brought together publishers, editors, data facility providers, domain experts, academy representatives and researchers to discuss journal data availability policies.

 

INTRODUCTION

An increasing number of journals are implementing policies and procedures that require published articles to be accompanied by the underlying research data. Journal policies on research data and related materials such as software code are an important part of the shift toward reproducible research. They support, and in some cases have driven, statements, mandates and principles issued by research funders, governments and scientific societies around the world. These policies support initiatives that allow for replication and verification of authors’ published claims. Additionally, research data policies have been shown to influence researchers’ willingness to share research data to varying extents [1].

There has not been a large-scale movement of publishers mandating data deposit although there has been an upward trend. Journal Impact Factor is the most highly significant determinant of the existence and strength of a journal data or code sharing policy [2]. Examples of higher impact factor journal data policies include those introduced by Nature [3] and PLOS [4]. However a number of initiatives are underway that recommend and make it easier for more publishers and journal editors to create or develop data policies. Examples include: the Joint Data Archiving Policy (JDAP) initiative by leading journals in the field of evolution which outlines a policy that data supporting publications be publicly available; a range of statements in support of data publishing such as the Coalition on Publishing Data in the Earth and Space Sciences (COPDESS) Statement of Commitment and the Data Access and Research Transparency (DA-RT): A Joint Statement by Political Science Journal Editors; the Open Science Framework Transparency and Openness Guidelines that offer a comprehensive list of policies for journals with several different levels of commitment to openness.

 

STANDARDISING AND HARMONISING DATA POLICIES

While publishers have been both participants and drivers of various data availability initiatives, there is a large variation between journals on the presence and content of data availability policies even within the one publishing house. This is problematic because an unclear data policy presents difficulties for authors in selecting a suitable journal for publication and in complying with the policy. Naughton and Kernohan [5] outline two projects funded by Jisc UK to make sense of journal data policies, which found that:

  1. Data policies are deeply idiosyncratic and often express similar ideas and processes in very different ways.
  • There is clear benefit in a more standardised approach. Greater standardisation could also facilitate the construction of a register of data policies, similar to the SHERPA registers for funder and publisher policies on open access.

The need for a more standardised approach to data availability policies has been recognised at an international level. A Research Data Alliance (RDA) Interest Group on Data Policy Standardisation and Implementation was formed at the April 2017 Plenary[6]. The Interest Group draws on the FORCE11 Data Citation Implementation Pilot[7] and the work of Springer Nature to standardise policies across journals via the creation of four standard templates for their stable of more than 3000 journals[8]. The chairs and co-chairs of the RDA Interest Group include representatives of Springer Nature, Wiley, Jisc UK and ANDS. The Group will bring together the views of data publishers and data facility/infrastructure providers internationally to enhance the effectiveness of journal data policies through policy standardisation and harmonisation.

 

ENGAGING PUBLISHERS AND EDITORS

Running in parallel with the work of the RDA Interest Group, ANDS is co-ordinating various events to engage scholarly publishers and editors in an effort to increase journal data availability policies. In April a “data in the social sciences” roundtable was co-sponsored by ANDS, ICPSR, FORCE 11 and Australian Data Archive (ADA) and in June, a “health and medical data” roundtable was co-sponsored by ANDS and Australian Health and Medical journal Editors Network (AHMEN). Each of these roundtables brought together publishers, editors, data facility providers, domain experts, academy representatives and researchers in Australia, and international guests to discuss the barriers and enablers to journal data availability policies. ANDS also offers a Guide “Research Data for Journal Editors” [9] and a point of contact for journal editors and publishers seeking advice on the creation or enhancement of a data availability policy.

 

INSTITUTIONAL ENGAGEMENT

Journal data availability policies would benefit greatly from the support of universities and research institutions. These are places that provide technical infrastructure, staff expertise and services that support the deposit of research data, publications and related materials. Ways in which institutions can engage include:

  • Working with publishers and journal editors to get their institutional or data repository listed in a journal data policy as a recommended place for authors to deposit data.
  • Provide links between journal articles and data held in institutional repositories in metadata feeds to third party aggregators such as Research Data Australia who then feed the links back to community “Hubs” where publishers can harvest the information and display it in journals (the Scholix initiative).
  • Contribute to the work of the Research Data Alliance Interest Group on Data Policy Standardisation and Implementation.
  • Participate in future events that bring together publishers, editors, data facility providers, domain experts, academy representatives and researchers to discuss journal data availability policies.

 

PRESENTATION OUTLINE

In this presentation, the authors will:

  • Introduce the international and Australasian context for the growing uptake of journal data availability policies.
  • Outline the drivers and barriers for the creation of these policies.
  • Reflect on the Australian roundtable experiences bringing together publishers, editors, data facility providers, domain experts, academy representatives and researchers to discuss journal data availability policies.
  • Provide an update on the activities of the Research Data Alliance Interest Group on Data Policy Standardisation and Implementation and outline ways in which people can contribute to the work of this group.
  • Discuss ways in which the eResearch Australasia community can engage with publishers and journal editors to support journal data availability policies and to offer a trusted repository for data deposit.

 

REFERENCES

  1. Meadows, A. (2014). To Share or not to Share? That is the (Research Data) Question… | The Scholarly Kitchen. Retrieved from https://scholarlykitchen.sspnet.org/2014/11/11/to-share-or-not-to-share-that-is-the-research-data-question/. Schmidt, B., Gemeinholzer, B., & Treloar, A. (2016). Open Data in Global Environmental Research: The Belmont Forum’s Open Data Survey. PloS One, 11(1), e0146695. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0146695
  2. Stodden V, Guo P, Ma Z (2013) Toward Reproducible Computational Research: An Empirical Analysis of Data and Code Policy Adoption by Journals. PLoS ONE 8(6): e67111. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0067111
  3. Nature Data Availability Policy. Available from http://www.nature.com/authors/policies/availability.html accessed 16 June 2017.
  4. PLOS Data Availability Policy. Available from http://journals.plos.org/plosone/s/data-availability accessed 16 June 2017.
  5. Naughton, L. & Kernohan, D., (2016). Making sense of journal research data policies. Insights. 29(1), pp.84–89. http://doi.org/10.1629/uksg.284
  6. Research Data Alliance Interest Group on Data Policy Standardisation and Implementation Case Statement. Available from https://www.rd-alliance.org/groups/data-policy-standardisation-and-implementation. Retrieved 16 June 2017.
  7. Force11 Data Citation Implementation Pilot. Available from https://www.force11.org/group/dcip/eg3publisherearlyadopters accessed 16 June 2017.
  8. Springer Nature Data Policy Types. Available from http://www.springernature.com/gp/group/data-policy/policy-types accessed 16 June 2017.
  9. ANDS Guide ‘Research Data for Journal Editors’. Available from http://www.ands.org.au/working-with-data/publishing-and-reusing-data/data-journals/data-policies-and-journals accessed 16 June 2017.

 


Biographies

Natasha Simons is a Senior Research Data Specialist with the Australian National Data Service (ANDS). With a background in libraries, IT and eResearch, she has a history of developing policy, technical infrastructure and staff skills to support research and researchers. She is co-chair of the Research Data Alliance Interest Group on Data Policy Standardisation and Implementation, which is focussed on improving journal data policies. Natasha is co-chair of an Australasian Repository Working Group, a member of the Australian ORCID Advisory Group and an ORCID Ambassador. She is located at The University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia.

Kate LeMay began her career as a Pharmacist in both community and hospital pharmacies. She then worked at the Woolcock Institute of Medical Research as a Project Manager for community pharmacy based programs to assist patients with chronic disease management. Kate now works in Canberra at the Australian National Data Service (ANDS) as a Senior Research Data Specialist, focusing on health and medical data.

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