PLOS Genetics: PLOS Genetics Data Sharing Policy: In Pursuit of Functional Utility
"About a year ago, PLOS implemented a new process intended to further the overarching principle that data used in the work we publish should be accessible and reusable. The motivation goes hand-in-hand with both our open access ethos and the scientific method itself: the validity of a conclusion depends on the ability to reproduce the underlying results. In theory, PLOS’ new data policy, in which 'all data underlying the findings described [must be] fully available,' is not so new; in practice, though, it may be perceived as burdensome, complicated, and/or inefficient. The policy and its purpose has been discussed extensively among PLOS Genetics Editorial Board members with regard to its potential impact on editors, authors, the community, and research subjects. The purpose of this editorial is 2-fold: to acknowledge and discuss aspects of the 'data-sharing' process that are especially challenging, and to provide additional clarification and guidance in the context of a few scenarios that are especially relevant, all from the perspective of working scientists who read, evaluate, and contribute to research based on genetics and genomics. We also suggest a way forward that builds on what already works at PLOS: consulting with multiple stakeholders whose interests intersect to develop consensus ..."