Sharing data is good. But sharing your own data? That can get complicated. As two research communities who held meetings on this question in Rome and in Toronto in May report their proposals to promote data sharing in biology, a special issue of Nature (10 September 2009) examines the cultural and technical hurdles that can get in the way of good intentions. Some of the authors of these proposals are participating in two online forums (Rome and Toronto) at Nature Network – so please accept our invitation to visit and have your say on these questions.
The two research communities held meetings with a broad range of stakeholders to discuss ways to promote data sharing in biology. Data producers and users met at a workshop in Toronto to discuss the benefits and best practices of rapid data release prior to publication. Ewan Birney, Tom Hudson and colleagues report the main conclusions of these discussions in a community statement, free to access here.
The Toronto group propose that the principles for early release of genomics data should be extended to other large datasets in biology and medicine. A grace period should be allowed, if requested, to enable data producers to analyse and publish their dataset, but this should be limited to one year. The authors also suggest a set of best practices for funding agencies, scientists and journal editors.
The recommendations are intended to spark community discussion on this subject. Ewan Birney, Tom Hudson and others will be responding to reader comments in our Nature Network forum. Be sure to have your say.
Mouse researchers, along with funding agencies and publishers, met in Rome to address the barriers preventing more effective sharing of data and biomaterials — particularly mouse strains and embryonic stem cells. Their agenda, free to access here, suggests guidelines to enable sharing of materials under the least restrictive terms, avoiding material transfer agreements where possible.
The Rome participants argue that funding organizations, journals and researchers need to work together to encourage better use of public repositories and to promote a ‘research commons’ in mouse biology.
The recommendations are intended to spark community discussion on this subject. Paul Schofield and others will be responding to reader comments in our Nature Network forum. Be sure to have your say.
See also the Editorial (free to access online) in the same issue of Nature (461, 145; 2009): ’Data’s shameful neglect’, opining that research cannot flourish if data are not preserved and made accessible. All concerned must act accordingly.