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(Not illness-specific) "Funding bodies will have to force scientists to share data" (just a blogpost

Dolphin

Senior Member
Messages
17,567
No specific news in this but I thought it was an interesting enough exploration of the issue of getting the raw data and what could be done.

However, this may be a minority interest. A few of us have got more interested in this following the PACE Trial and the difficulties people have had with FOI requests e.g. for data promised in the published protocol.

 

Simon

Senior Member
Messages
3,789
Location
Monmouth, UK
Music, sweet music:
With open access the issue has been free access to the results of scientific work. However, by “results” researchers really mean published papers which, bluntly, are only what scientists write about after looking at their data. With the open data drive, advocates are saying that the actual raw data should be available too. Anyone could then pick over, explore and re-use the data. This shift represents a behavioural sea-change that will also fix some substantial threats to the integrity of science.

The benefits of open data are clear. First, just the knowledge that the raw data will be out there for other analysts to check may make researchers more responsible about their data. Second, there is vast potential in the re-use of data.
Around half of all studies are never published, never mind much data behind published studies is kept under wraps
This means that the “results” out there in the scientific literature are a warped representation of the data that has been collected.
The author, Michael Galsworthy goes on to argue that there are no penalities and few incentives to share data, and that making sharing data more attractive is important (eg crediting authors on papers published using their data). But ultimately a culture change is needed, he says, one that will only come if funders demand data from studies they fund is made freely available.

Edit: this is interesting on why scientists might not share data:
PLOS ONE: Willingness to Share Research Data Is Related to the Strength of the Evidence and the Quality of Reporting of Statistical Results
 

biophile

Places I'd rather be.
Messages
8,977
The blog that Dolphin posted has numerous interesting links within the text, such as:

Willingness to Share Research Data Is Related to the Strength of the Evidence and the Quality of Reporting of Statistical Results

Background: The widespread reluctance to share published research data is often hypothesized to be due to the authors' fear that reanalysis may expose errors in their work or may produce conclusions that contradict their own. However, these hypotheses have not previously been studied systematically.

Methods and Findings: We related the reluctance to share research data for reanalysis to 1148 statistically significant results reported in 49 papers published in two major psychology journals. We found the reluctance to share data to be associated with weaker evidence (against the null hypothesis of no effect) and a higher prevalence of apparent errors in the reporting of statistical results. The unwillingness to share data was particularly clear when reporting errors had a bearing on statistical significance.

Conclusions: Our findings on the basis of psychological papers suggest that statistical results are particularly hard to verify when reanalysis is more likely to lead to contrasting conclusions. This highlights the importance of establishing mandatory data archiving policies.

Wicherts JM, Bakker M, Molenaar D (2011) Willingness to Share Research Data Is Related to the Strength of the Evidence and the Quality of Reporting of Statistical Results. PLoS ONE 6(11): e26828. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0026828

http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0026828
 

Firestormm

Senior Member
Messages
5,055
Location
Cornwall England
Are we talking about making data available for published studies? I am a little confused. Or are they suggesting all submitted studies even those that don't get published? Thanks :)
 

alex3619

Senior Member
Messages
13,810
Location
Logan, Queensland, Australia
Hi Firestormm, the "Willingness" paper is about published results, but the first article is about both published and unpublished data. All scientific data should be shared in my view, and available. The original researchers then get cited when it is used. I can envisage a day when citation indexes include not just papers, but data stores.

I still haven't read the "Willingness" paper in full, I am having a few bad brain days, but it is apparent that there is likely to be more error and biased results when data is not published.

Alex.