Friday, May 25, 2007

Research Remix and Open Data

Heather Piwowar has recently started a blog, Research Remix, to discuss Open Data and Open Science.

This blog is an experiment. I’m starting my PhD literature review on the topic of biomedical data sharing and reuse, and thought it would be appropriate to do it out in the open.

She pointed out an extremely interesting study about data disclosure:

A few years ago, as I expressed frustration due to lack of a reply from a corresponding author, a professor summarized his experience: one third of authors do not reply when contacted, one third reply but are not able or willing to supply requested data, and one third reply and do supply the information.

Journal articles often remind me of court cases. Without lying, a good writer will make their case as simple and as compelling as possible for the editors and reviewers. There would be nothing wrong with that system if all the messy raw data were also made available. I am including here all of the related "failed and ambiguous experiments" that cast a shadow on the simplicity of explanation in the article.

Science is a messy process. We get into trouble by pretending that it isn't sometimes. That may be the issue with the reluctance to share.

Thanks to Bill Hooker for the link!

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