Friday, 25 November 2011

Your turn - Poll up and answer

It's been a while, so here's a poll (see the sidebar on the left).

In which decade was the following statement made? Guess before you google it, and extra marks if you know who the author was also.
With the ever-increasing number of publications, coupled with higher printing costs, there is great pressure brought on journal editors to keep manuscripts as short as possible. While this is quite understandable, it has, in my opinion, lead to a very serious problem. The vast majority of (hopefully) good analytical data, such as spectroscopic, kinetic and thermodynamic measurements, is never readily made available to the scientific community. Published data are often so "compressed" that one is unable to examine alternative interpretations, as the published data are not sufficient. Partial data are preferred to complete data...

Why doesn't [______] make it a policy to require authors to submit full data on spectroscopic and other data for which there are existing data centres? Furthermore, I propose that the editors of this journal and other such journals establish criteria for collecting relevant data for which no data center exists today in order to prepare for the future. Perhaps it is time for a conference of journal editors to meet and propose a solution to this problem. Unless something real and practical is done in the near future, it will become impossible to find or use scientific data with the resulting loss of time and money for those who need to repeat experiments.
(1) I've mixed up the spelling of center/re to protect the innocent.
(2) Poll closes in 7 days.
(3) Please - no spoilers in the comments.


Andrew Dalke said...

Let's me think. "Data center" in this context sounds dated, so 1960-2000. The ideas for the CCDC and PDB were started in the 1960s.

There's no call for a network based repository or online access to supplemental information, so pre-1995.

Using "data" in the plural suggests British. Calling for a "conference of journal editors" and using "compressed" to mean only "lossy", makes me think it's someone more at the admin level than a software developer. Still, it feels more like a computational person than an experimentalist; I think an experimentalist would give a more explicit reason why the data is/"are" needed.

I'm going to say the late 1970s.

starless said...

I'd say that it was said in 1950's, with no particular reason.

Noel O'Boyle said...

@starless: Sometimes it feels like chemistry is still stuck in the 1950's.

Stian said...

1820. Who did kinetic experiments in the last. century?

Tobias Kind said...

Hi Noel,
i found it interesting that a recent 2009 PLOS study "Empirical Study of Data Sharing by Authors Publishing in PLoS Journals" showed that:

"In conclusion, our findings suggest that explicit journal policies requiring data sharing do not lead to authors making their data sets available to independent investigators."

Also professional societies do not have much power, what about people that publish stuff outside the societies journals?

I think the funding organizations, NIH and NSF in the US or Welcome Trust in the UK have the duty to request that such data has to be made public together with the publication. And here in the US that is actually happening right now, with the NSF at least requiring data management plans and NIH at the forefront, by requiring deposits of research data in public repositories.

So nobody will ask at the end, where have all the data gone?