New Open Data Policy at PLOS

PLOS (The Public Library of Science) is implementing a new data access policy that will affect researchers seeking to publish with the widely regarded publisher of open access journals for science and medicine. Beginning March 3rd, 2014, a Data Availability Statement will be required with all prospective articles submitted to any PLOS journal. You can check the details of the PLOS’ new open data policy or their FAQs.

This new data policy announcement invited both positive and negative responses. Many have already addressed issues in their blog posts, including the posts written by Ian Dworkin and Anna Sharman who summed up the potential problem:

So what is the big problem? The main objections raised seem to me to fall into six categories:

  1. Some datasets would take too much work to get into a format that others could understand
  2. It isn’t always clear what kind of data should be published with a paper
  3. Some data files are too large to be easily hosted
  4. The concern that others might publish reanalyses that the originators of the data were intending to publish, so they would lose the credit from that further research
  5. Some datasets contain confidential information
  6. Some datasets are proprietary
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