Codifying Collegiality: Recent Developments in Data Sharing Policy in the Life Sciences
Darren E Zinner and
Eric G Campbell
PLOS ONE, 2014, vol. 9, issue 9, 1-8
Over the last decade, there have been significant changes in data sharing policies and in the data sharing environment faced by life science researchers. Using data from a 2013 survey of over 1600 life science researchers, we analyze the effects of sharing policies of funding agencies and journals. We also examine the effects of new sharing infrastructure and tools (i.e., third party repositories and online supplements). We find that recently enacted data sharing policies and new sharing infrastructure and tools have had a sizable effect on encouraging data sharing. In particular, third party repositories and online supplements as well as data sharing requirements of funding agencies, particularly the NIH and the National Human Genome Research Institute, were perceived by scientists to have had a large effect on facilitating data sharing. In addition, we found a high degree of compliance with these new policies, although noncompliance resulted in few formal or informal sanctions. Despite the overall effectiveness of data sharing policies, some significant gaps remain: about one third of grant reviewers placed no weight on data sharing plans in their reviews, and a similar percentage ignored the requirements of material transfer agreements. These patterns suggest that although most of these new policies have been effective, there is still room for policy improvement.
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