A PLoS article this week puts some numbers (small, though they may be) on how truly free and open scientists are in sharing their data. For the article, the authors sent information requests for data previously published on in PLoS journals. The thing about these journals is that they have an explicit data sharing policy, which makes it clear that the raw data sets they use in their analyses must be made available to other researchers.
Just a little history about the PLoS journals: they were originally set up with the ideal of Open Access as a founding tenet. This included not only sharing your data but making the journal itself freely accessible to anyone, free of subscription.
But back to the article itself. THe authors found that out of 10 requests for data, they recieved only one dataset. In fact, some of the data holders seemed rather indignant in the thought that someone might actually want to look at THEIR data, as I’m sure they thought the only reason why would be for the requesters to scoop the next big story to come out of these datasets.
In the end, this study only really serves to emphasize the fact that science is still a very closed (and I would say, closeminded) place to work in.
Unfortunately, I agree with this post. In general, it seems that certain fields in science are using open access and others could take a lesson. Also missing from this is the discrepancy between the computer science field and ecoinformatics or bioinformatics in general…where is the source code used for analysis that others can apply to their own data sets? I hope to incorporate my code and unique scripts for analysis into my project.