Journals’ predilection for data availability statements makes little difference to readers’ chances of getting their hands on the data
A push to include “data availability statements” in journal articles, to help improve the reproducibility of published studies, has done little to boost researchers’ access to each other’s underpinning findings.
This story that appeared in Times Higher Education is another callout criticising the fact that while many journal articles say that data will be available upon request when access is requested, it is often not made available. Research institutions and publishers need to start taking action when researchers for you to live up to their undertakings when it comes to data sharing.
And their impact is even patchier. An analysis of journals in the chemical sciences found that data availability statements were present in about 93 percent of the papers produced by AIP Publishing, 86 percent at MDPI and 28 percent at Springer Nature. In all three cases, only about 5 percent of the papers featured links to online repositories containing the data, with a temporary hosting service called GitHub among the most popular.
“Just because you require a data availability statement doesn’t mean the data are going to be more likely to be there,” Leslie McIntosh, Digital Science’s vice-president of research integrity, told an Australian webinar.