Oh the irony – new #OpenAccess #PLoSOne paper on Research Blogs doesn’t share data behind analyses.

Interesting new paper: PLoS ONE: Research Blogs and the Discussion of Scholarly Information. All about the new world of science blogging.  Much of the context here relates to openness.  Yet as far as I can tell, the data collected that make up the meat of the analyses in the paper, are not shared.  Uggh.

Is there something I am missing here? Shouldn’t a prerequisite of publishing this kind of paper be sharing the information / data used in the analyses?  Shouldn’t that be released with the paper?

Definitely time to start “Open Data Watch” where people have a place to complain about lack of open availability of data behind papers (I came up with the name as a mimic of Ivan Oransky’s diverse watch sites like Retraction Watch).  Originally in thinking about doing this I had been thinking about genomic data.  But I am sure this is a problem in other areas.  Consider paleontology, where openness to fossils and other samples is, well, not as common as it should be.  It is not that hard anymore to find a place to share one’s data.  With places like Data Dryad and Biotorrents and FigShare and Merritt and 100s of others it is really inexcusable not to share the data behind a paper in most cases.  Certainly, in some cases there maybe privacy issues but that is not the case here (I think) and not an issue in most cases.

Come on people.  If scientific papers are to be reproducible and testable, you need to give people access to the data you used. ResearchBlogging.org Shema, H., Bar-Ilan, J., & Thelwall, M. (2012). Research Blogs and the Discussion of Scholarly Information PLoS ONE, 7 (5) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0035869

Figuring out FigShare (@FigShare) & Digging into Digital Science (@digitalsci) #OpenData

Digital Science I do not really know much about but am learning because, well, a big supporter of open science, Kaitlin Thaney (who I note, is also a friend), moved there relatively recently and I want to figure out what she does and what they do.
Digital Science has some detail in the “about” section on their home page. Some key points:
Digital Science provides software and information to support researchers and research administrators in their everyday work, with the ultimate aim of making science more productive through the use of technology. As well as developing our own solutions, we also invest in promising start-ups and other partners, working closely with them to help them realise their full potential.
We are a business unit of Macmillan Publishers Ltd. and our activities build on the reputation for editorial and technological excellence of its sister company, Nature Publishing Group (NPG).

So basically they partner with and/or acquire companies that are playing with new technologies for communicating science. OK. I can wrap my brain around that at least for now. Whatever Digital Science does is not the point of my post here though. FigShare is.


FigShare is an interesting take on the movement to get people to share and release more unpublished/prepublication data sets. From their website:

FigShare is is a permanent, citable archive for pre-publication research and preliminary findings.

FigShare is the first online repository for storing and sharing all of your prelimonary findings in the form of individual figures or datasets. Post preprint figures on FigShare to claim priority and receive feedback on your findings prior to formal publication.

So in essence FigShare is trying to be an ArXiv for data sets (and figures presenting summaries of data).

One very nice thing – under FigShare data sets are published under a CC0 license which in essence puts the data into the public domain. And Figures and Media are published under a CC BY3.0 license which is pretty broad (attribution required).

They also emphasize a goal of getting people to deposit so-called negative results (which might be hard to publish in a traditional paper I suppose). However, it seems that this system is really for any type of prepublication release of data or media or figures.

Lots of cool things happening these days in terms of data sharing efforts.  Most of it I am still learning about so maybe I should not even try to summarize it.  But if others out there want to post links to other open data efforts that would be great.

Anyway – the Digital Science and FigShare thing caught my eye and just thought I would dig a little into them and post a few details.

UPDATE: Decided to post some Figures from Fig Share for people to check out:

From http://figshare.com/figures/index.php/File:Gkj042f1.jpg

Phylogenetic tree of the isolates in this outbreak together with some other PRRSV strains with known genome sequences. Kegong Tian, Xiuling Yu, Tiezhu Zhao, Youjun Feng, Zhen Cao, Chuanbin Wang, Yan Hu, Xizhao Chen, Dongmei Hu, Xinsheng Tian, Di Liu, Shuo Zhang, Xiaoyu Deng, Yinqiao Ding, Lu Yang, Yunxia Zhang, Haixia Xiao, Mingming Qiao, Bin Wang, Lili Hou, Xiaoying Wang, Xinyan Yang, Liping Kang, Ming Sun, Ping Jin, Shujuan Wang, Yoshihiro Kitamura, Jinghua Yan, George F. Gao. FigShare. Retrieved 07:18, September 9, 2011

There are of course, lots more ….