Data Availability at Hindawi
Coinciding with #LoveYourData week, we are announcing our intention to require authors to provide a Data Availability Statement with all newly submitted manuscripts.
Hindawi is proudly an exclusively Open Access publisher. Since 2007, all articles published within our portfolio have been freely available upon publication. In the last decade, the Open Access community have moved towards Open Science, embracing a broader role for technology in facilitating discoverability, accessibility, and reuse. A fundamental pillar of Open Science is that scientific data should be freely available. Open Data promises clarity in the experimental process and enhances research integrity. It enables scrutiny and verification, and provides a ready resource upon which future studies can build.
The benefits to science and society from widespread data sharing initiatives are plentiful. Science can advance faster when we pool our knowledge, leading to faster technological returns enabled by more efficient use of data. The Open Data cause has gathered significant momentum in recent times. For instance, from 1st January 2017, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation require that funded authors make the datasets underlying their research openly available, immediately upon publication.
We believe publishers must support funders and researchers in making this transition possible. As data availability policies have become more common, however, researchers and others have raised concerns about enforced data sharing. These include patient privacy, the release of sensitive and confidential information, and the dependence of some research on commercially licensed datasets. Individual scientific communities are at different stages of understanding how best to share and maximize the usefulness of their data. Whilst some fields are used to openly sharing data for community use, others do not yet share this culture.
Hindawi publishes across a wide range of disciplines, and we are sensitive to the needs of individual communities to develop distinct data sharing practices. However, we now feel that Open Data efforts are now sufficiently well advanced that we are ready to move towards data sharing guidelines across all of our journals.
Initially, we intend to ask our authors to include a Data Availability Statement in all submissions, to increase transparency around whether and how others may access the underlying data. This is the first step towards developing a more comprehensive Open Data policy. This process will be informed by feedback from our Editorial Board Members, our authors, our readers, and other members of the scientific community. You can get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org.
The text and images in this blog post are by Hindawi and are distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC-BY).