A Reminder for Those Who Fantasize about Data Sharing: Keep Fantasizing

June 22, 2022

I read “Many Researchers Say They’ll Share Data — But Don’t” reports that a sample of 381 articles produced this finding:

But of the 1,792 manuscripts for which the authors stated they were willing to share their data, more than 90% of corresponding authors either declined or did not respond to requests for raw data (see ‘Data-sharing behaviour’). Only 14%, or 254, of the contacted authors responded to e-mail requests for data, and a mere 6.7%, or 120 authors, actually handed over the data in a usable format.

The “whys” reported in the article are fascinating; for example:

  • No informed consent
  • No ethics approval to share
  • Researchers had “moved on”
  • Gee, the dog ate the data
  • Language issues (No habla nada) when interpreting comments
  • “Fear of getting scooped”
  • Data privacy
  • Confidentially
  • Data misuse downstream by those doing “secondary analyses”

I like the “dog ate my data”, an approach practiced at different times by Googley-type companies, reluctant witnesses, and wizards who produce non-reproducible results.

What about different governments’ desire for agency data sharing? Ho ho ho.

What about companies using the jargon “silo breakers”? Ho ho ho

What about government investigators sharing of data with other government investigators or inspectors general? You kidding or what?

What about researchers at a  university with a US government grant? Tenure comes first, then maybe with a trusted post doc on my team and even then… maybe.

Stephen E Arnold, June 22, 2022

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