May 26, 2010

Why is sharing data useful to me? Why should I share data that I have worked very hard to collect and analyze?

While data sharing is primarily useful for expanding scientific knowledge, it does provide benefits for individual researchers. Data systems that are in the public domain often generate additional research which is credited to the original source. For instance, the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, which has been in the public domain since its inception, has generated over 3,000 publications in the last 20 years authored by persons not on the original research team. In addition, data citation practices and the norms of scientific practice have changed substantially in the past 20 years so that the production of data is now considered a scholarly pursuit. A 2009 committee report by the National Academy of Sciences has emphasized the emerging role of data sharing both in science and in the careers of scholars.