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the way we reward scientists need to change.....

Posted by binay on 26 Sep 2013 at 03:21 GMT

public data sharing will need:
1. enforcement by journals BEFORE publishing the articles
2. funding agencies ensuring long-term funding to run & sustain data repositories
3. common format for codes/scripts submission (biologists don't understand this but this not only is necessary but essential)
4. big & famous scientists, who regularly publish in scn journals, mandate that not a single paper goes out of the lab door unless 100% of the raw data along with software and codes/scripts gets deposited in a public repositories

i work in the field of genome sequencing & biology and none of the high-throughput sequencing, cancer sequencing etc. papers are accompanied with raw data. the materials & methods section is awfully inadequate, especially in nature & science papers, are vague and without enough information to repeat some observations. most gets pushed to supplementary information and as the suppl info is not reviewed by the reviewers/journals, people simply dump large amount of unnecessary files there. what will be important is not large suppl files but a step-by-step procedure on how the data was analyzed, starting with raw data, and the entire set of scripts/codes used to get the final analysis. the common excuse behind not-releasing (its called controlled release of data) is privacy of individuals, which can easily be taken care by anonymizing the patient names, and not providing any clinical & related metadata. still, no one does that. there are many rules put together by large consortia on how easy its going to be to get raw data but pl try getting it, especially from a small/relatively unknown lab or place. people don't even respond to your mails. the reality is different from what people preach in public forums.

lets not be presumptuous. science is v competitive and what brings rewards and grants/grant renewal is not to be a good samaritan and submit all your data/scripts/codes but publications in good journals. how many times you heard in a grant award or grant renewal mtg that one needs to be funded because he/she has been doing thorough science, has ben a good scientist and has been depositing all the raw data in time and easily accessible public repositories etc. unless the attitude towards publications and the excessive weight given to publications change, nothing is going to happen. it all stems from that.


No competing interests declared.