We talked recently about how Am Nat and other leading EEB journals are giving their data sharing policies teeth. Going forward, they’re going to require data sharing. And of course, for years now increasing numbers of ecologists have been posting the data underpinning their papers in public repositories such as Dryad, even if not strictly required to do so by journal policies.
This is an area in which scientific practices and norms are changing fast. I’m old enough to remember when there was no expectation that you’d share data you’d collected, much less that you’d be obliged to share it!
I’ve been wondering lately how data sharing rules are affecting people’s views on authorship. My own view is that data on public repositories are fair game. Anyone can download them and use them in any way, including in their own papers (for instance, meta-analyses), without offering co-authorship to those who originally collected and deposited the data. I think this view is consistent with the spirit of Dyad’s policies; data deposited on Dryad are made available under a Creative Commons Zero license. But it occurred to me that I have no idea if my own view is widely shared. And we know from past polling data that ecologists’ views on authorship issues don’t have much to do with official journal authorship policies. So perhaps ecologists’ views on authorship in relation to data on public repositories don’t have much to do with the repositories’ official policies.
So to get some anecdata on this, here’s a a very short anonymous poll. I’ll publish a summary of the responses in a future post.