The Essential Nature of Sharing in Science
- First Online:
- 292 Downloads
Advances in science are the combined result of the efforts of a great many scientists, and in many cases, their willingness to share the products of their research. These products include data sets, both small and large, and unique research resources not commercially available, such as cell lines and software programs. The sharing of these resources enhances both the scope and the depth of research, while making more efficient use of time and money. However, sharing is not without costs, many of which are borne by the individual who develops the research resource. Sharing, for example, reduces the uniqueness of the resources available to a scientist, potentially influencing the originator’s perceived productivity and ultimately his or her competitiveness for jobs, promotions, and grants. Nevertheless, for most researchers—particularly those using public funds—sharing is no longer optional but must be considered an obligation to science, the funding agency, and ultimately society at large. Most funding agencies, journals, and professional societies now require a researcher who has published work involving a unique resource to make that resource available to other investigators. Changes could be implemented to mitigate some of the costs. The creator of the resource could explore the possibility of collaborating with those who request it. In addition, institutions that employ and fund researchers could change their policies and practices to make sharing a more attractive and viable option. For example, when evaluating an individual’s productivity, institutions could provide credit for the impact a researcher has had on their field through the provision of their unique resources to other investigators, regardless of whether that impact is reflected in the researcher’s list of publications. In addition, increased funding for the development and maintenance of user-friendly public repositories for data and research resources would also help to reduce barriers to sharing by minimizing the time, effort, and funding needed by individual investigators to comply with requests for their unique resource. Indeed, sharing is an imperative, but it is also essential to find ways to protect for both the original owner of the resource and those wishing to share it.
KeywordsEthics Responsible conduct Publication Research article Sharing
- Addiction (2007). Guidelines for authors on acceptable materials for submission. www.blackwellpublishing.com/bauthor/suppmat.asp. Accession 9 July 2007.
- American Physiological Society (2007). Instructions for preparing your manuscript. http://www.the-aps.org/publications/i4a/prep_manuscript.htm. Accession 9 July 2007.
- American Type Culture Collection (2007). About ATCC. http://www.atcc.org/About/AboutATCC.cfm#mission. Accession 10 July 2007.
- Archaeology Data Services (2007). About the ADS. http://ads.ahds.ac.uk/project/about.html. Accession 10 July 2007.
- Bok, S. (1982). Secrecy and openness in science: Ethical considerations. Science, Technology, and Human Values, 7, 32–41.Google Scholar
- Boorstein, D. J. (1983). The discoverers (p. 1983). NY: Random House.Google Scholar
- Brookhaven Laboratories (2007). RCSB protein data bank. http://www.rcsb.org/pdb/home/home.do. Accession 10 July 2007.
- Ceci, S. J. (1998). Scientists’ attitudes toward sharing data. Science, Technology, and Human Values, 13, 45–52.Google Scholar
- Day, R. A. (1979). How to write and publish a scientific paper. Phoenix, AZ: Oryx Press.Google Scholar
- Federal Register. (1999). Principles and guidelines for recipients of NIH research grants and contracts on obtaining and disseminating biomedical research resources: Final notice. Federal Register, 64, 72090–72096.Google Scholar
- Flournoy, N., & Hearne, L. B. (1990). Sharing scientific data III: Planning and the research proposal. IRB: A Review of Human Subjects Research, 12, 6–9.Google Scholar
- Genbank (2005). What is GenBank? http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/Genbank/. Accession 10 July 2007.
- Genes, Brain and Behavior (2007). Guidelines for authors on acceptable materials for submission. http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/bauthor/suppmat.asp Accession 9 July 2007.
- Jackson Laboratories (2007). JAX services information. http://jaxmice.jax.org/. Accession 10 July 2007.
- Journal of Biological Chemistry (2007). Instructions for authors. http://www.jbc.org/misc/ifora.shtml. Accession 2 April 2007.
- Merton, R. K. (1961). Singletons and multiples in scientific discovery: A chapter in the sociology of science. Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, 105, 470–486.Google Scholar
- Merton, R. K. (1973). The sociology of science: Theoretical and empirical investigations. Chicago: University of Chicago.Google Scholar
- NASA/IPAC (2007). Infrared images science archive: What is IRSA? http://irsa.ipac.caltech.edu/about.html. Accession 10 July 2007.
- National Institutes of Health, Data Sharing Workbook (2004). http//grants1.nih.gov/grants/policy/data_sharing/data_sharing_workbook.pdf.Google Scholar
- National Research Council. (2003). Sharing publication-related data and materials: Responsibilities of authorship in the life sciences. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.Google Scholar
- National Research Council. (2004). Seeking security: Pathogens, open access, and genome databases. Washington, DC: National Academies.Google Scholar
- National Science Board (2006). Science and Engineering Indicators, 2006 vol. 1. (NSB 06-01), National Science Foundation: Arlington, VA.Google Scholar
- National Science Foundation (2001). General Grant Conditions (GC-1). http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2001/gc101/gc101rev1.pdf.
- National Science and Technology Council (2000). Ensuring a strong U.S. scientific, technical, and engineering workforce in the 21st century. http://www.ostp.gov/html/workforcerpt.pdf.
- PNAS (2006). PNAS information for authors. PNAS, 103, i–iv.Google Scholar
- Rogers, F. (2004). Sharing. http://pbskids.org/rogers/parentsteachers/theme/1711.html. Accession 9 July 2007.
- Royal Academy of Sciences (2010). Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Academy of Sciences. http://www.pubs.royalsoc.ac.uk/index.cfm?page=1000. Accession 9 July 2007.
- Science (2007). Information for authors: Preparing your online supporting materials. http://www.sciencemag.org/about/authors/prep/prep_online.dtl. Accession 2 April 2007.
- Shekerjian, D. (1991). Uncommon genius: How great ideas are born. New York: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
- Sieber, J. E. (1989). Sharing scientific data I: New problems for IRBs. IRB: A review of Human Subjects Research, 11, 4–7.Google Scholar
- Society for Neuroscience (2000). Responsible conduct regarding scientific communication. J Neurosci. 20: i–xiv. (Also available as http://www.sfn.org/index.cfm?pagename=responsibleConduct).
- Weil, V. & Hollander, R. (2007). Sharing scientific data II: Normative issues. IRB: A review of human subjects research, 1990. 12, 7–8.Google Scholar