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      Data Sharing by Scientists: Practices and Perceptions

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          Abstract

          Background

          Scientific research in the 21st century is more data intensive and collaborative than in the past. It is important to study the data practices of researchers – data accessibility, discovery, re-use, preservation and, particularly, data sharing. Data sharing is a valuable part of the scientific method allowing for verification of results and extending research from prior results.

          Methodology/Principal Findings

          A total of 1329 scientists participated in this survey exploring current data sharing practices and perceptions of the barriers and enablers of data sharing. Scientists do not make their data electronically available to others for various reasons, including insufficient time and lack of funding. Most respondents are satisfied with their current processes for the initial and short-term parts of the data or research lifecycle (collecting their research data; searching for, describing or cataloging, analyzing, and short-term storage of their data) but are not satisfied with long-term data preservation. Many organizations do not provide support to their researchers for data management both in the short- and long-term. If certain conditions are met (such as formal citation and sharing reprints) respondents agree they are willing to share their data. There are also significant differences and approaches in data management practices based on primary funding agency, subject discipline, age, work focus, and world region.

          Conclusions/Significance

          Barriers to effective data sharing and preservation are deeply rooted in the practices and culture of the research process as well as the researchers themselves. New mandates for data management plans from NSF and other federal agencies and world-wide attention to the need to share and preserve data could lead to changes. Large scale programs, such as the NSF-sponsored DataNET (including projects like DataONE) will both bring attention and resources to the issue and make it easier for scientists to apply sound data management principles.

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          Most cited references14

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          Data sharing: Empty archives.

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            Promoting Access to Public Research Data for Scientific, Economic, and Social Development

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              Data Withholding in Academic Genetics

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Role: Editor
                Journal
                PLoS One
                plos
                plosone
                PLoS ONE
                Public Library of Science (San Francisco, USA )
                1932-6203
                2011
                29 June 2011
                : 6
                : 6
                : e21101
                Affiliations
                [1 ]School of Information Sciences, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee, United States of America
                [2 ]University of Tennessee Libraries, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee, United States of America
                [3 ]Center for Biological Informatics, United States Geological Survey, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, United States of America
                Science and Technology Facilities Council, United Kingdom
                Author notes

                Conceived and designed the experiments: CT SA KLD AUA LW ER MM MF. Performed the experiments: CT SA KLD AUA LW ER MM MF. Analyzed the data: CT SA KLD AUA LW ER MM MF. Wrote the paper: CT SA KLD AUA LW ER MM MF.

                Article
                PONE-D-11-00678
                10.1371/journal.pone.0021101
                3126798
                21738610
                02873d70-f18b-4311-94c2-e029501c90b8
                Tenopir et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
                History
                : 3 January 2011
                : 20 May 2011
                Page count
                Pages: 21
                Categories
                Research Article
                Biology
                Computational Biology
                Biological Data Management
                Text Mining
                Computer Science
                Information Technology
                Databases
                Science Policy
                Research Assessment
                Publication Practices
                Research Reporting Guidelines
                Research Funding
                Government Funding of Science
                Research Integrity
                Publication Ethics
                Social and Behavioral Sciences
                Information Science
                Information Storage and Retrieval
                Libraries

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                Uncategorized

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