Data sharing policy at open access platform PLOS sparks debate among researchers

open-access-debateOnline open access publisher the Public Library of Science (PLOS) is refining a new policy that requires authors to make their data publicly available upon the publication of the accompanying article.

“Access to research results, immediately and without restriction, has always been at the heart of PLOS’ mission and the wider Open Access movement,” PLOS stated in January. “However, without similar access to the data underlying the findings, the article can be of limited use.”

Some critics have argued that the policy would place an extra burden on researchers and expose sensitive information, such as patient data.

“Pushes for Data Access will inevitably, in real practice, result in constraints on the very diversity of science that makes it so productive,” a writer for the popular biomedical research blog Drunk Monkey opined. “It will burn a lot of time and effort that could be more profitably applied to conducting and publishing more studies.”

Amid the outcry, PLOS has since further clarified its stance, adding that the policy doesn’t dictate what type of data must be published but “aims to make transparent where the data can be found, and says that it shouldn’t be just on the authors’ own hard drive.”

(Next page: Researchers have conflicting opinions on data sharing.)


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