[open-science] Why not publish data?

Hide, Branwen Branwen.Hide at rin.ac.uk
Mon Mar 16 10:32:32 UTC 2009

The Royal Meteorological Society and the National Centre for Atmospheric
Science are in the process of developing a data journal specifically for
Meteorological Data. A report of the project is due the end of April.
More information on the programme can be found at
http://www.jisc.ac.uk/whatwedo/programmes/reppres/sue/ojims.aspx or on
the project site http://proj.badc.rl.ac.uk/ojims


Branwen Hide

Research Information Network (www.rin.ac.uk <http://www.rin.ac.uk/> )




From: open-science-bounces at lists.okfn.org
[mailto:open-science-bounces at lists.okfn.org] On Behalf Of Peter
Sent: 16 March 2009 07:54
To: Gavin Baker
Cc: SPARC-OpenData; open-science at lists.okfn.org
Subject: Re: [open-science] Why not publish data?


Thanks for positing to the list - I hope it generates discussion.

On Mon, Mar 16, 2009 at 6:00 AM, Gavin Baker <gavin at gavinbaker.com>

is the title of a post just published on my blog:

I'm eager for comments and critique. Feel free to comment on the blog
post or respond on this list. I'll copy the post before to facilitate

> I try to avoid writing things that may make me sound stupid, but this
> post falls in that category.
> Recently I was reading about efforts related to data sharing:
> technological infrastructure, curation, educating researchers, and
> the like. I was struck by the thought that most of the advocacy for
> data sharing boils down to an exhortation to stick it in a digital
> repository.


This would be simplisitic. There are many digital repositories which
serve this purpose but lots of thought and management go into them. They
include much of bioscience (EBI, NCBI, PDB, etc.) which you could call
digital repositories, but they are domain repositories managed by
domain-oriented scientists. It is often mandatory to deposit at point of

What is simplistic is to think that simply putting data into
institutional repositories will be of great use. But I don't hear a
great deal of advocacy for that



	> Might the best way to get researchers to share data be to
create a
	> similar system for datasets? It might provide a compelling
	> If you think of it in terms of a CV, the difference is between
	> lines:


	> * Created and shared large, valuable dataset which is highly
	> by peers
	> * Publication in J. Big Useful Datasets, impact factor X

Several people are advocating something like this. It depends on the
culture of the domain. I have encountered many peers that do not regard
tools to create and datasets as "proper science". But this is very
domain dependent.

	> It may be hard for a reviewer to quantify or validate the
former; the
	> latter demonstrates that the researcher's contribution has
	> been validated and provides built-in metrics to quantify the
	> contribution.


There are no built-in metrics, anymore than there are built-in metrics
for publications/papers.  Each data repository will be judged by the
community. It may give rise to metrics or it may not

	> There are other ways to skin the same cat. One option would be
	> build alternative systems for conferring recognition (e.g.
	> metrics for contributions to shared datasets, etc.). The other
	> approach is to make data sharing a more enforceable part of
	> scientific endeavors, e.g. mandatory as a condition of
	> funding, mandatory as a condition of publication (of written
	> in a journal, etc. I think multiple approaches will yield the
	> result. It seems to me that creating "journals" (or some other
	> for "publishing" datasets could be a useful way to spur
	> participation.

Some funders and some domains already do this. Others - like chemistry
and materials see data as a valuable competitive advantage or real-world


Peter Murray-Rust
Reader in Molecular Informatics
Unilever Centre, Dep. Of Chemistry
University of Cambridge
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