Sharing is a cardinal virtue, but scientists still struggle with it
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"And there’s the rub: Authors often don’t want to share. Sometimes, they claim that the data are proprietary, which may well be the case. But there are solutions to that. Data can be shared with reviewers on a confidential basis, as Simine Vazire, a psychologist at the University of California, Davis, suggested to Nature.
Or perhaps the data involve identifying patient information. Fine. Strip away that information, and consider using a trusted middleman like YODA, the Yale University Open Data Access Project. Even pharmaceutical companies — who may have billions riding on proprietary data — are willing to share through YODA.
But sometimes, the reasons for not sharing reflect the hypercompetitive culture of science and its heavy emphasis on publishing in prestigious journals — outlets like the New England Journal of Medicine. NEJM has, to its credit, embarked on one campaign designed to increase data-sharing. In the SPRINT Data Analysis Challenge, the journal made sure that data from a recent trial were available to researchers, and encouraged them to come up with new questions to try to answer.
But not everyone is happy. Dr. Jackson Wright, a clinical trial researcher at Case Western Reserve University, told Nature that 'the incentives to do these trials will be dramatically lessened if this is going to be the expectation going forward. It’s a huge time commitment.'"