How can publishers better meet the open research needs of funders and institutions?

“Publishers investing in simple solutions in their workflows can help to better meet the needs of funders and institutions who wish to support open research practices, research released this week by PLOS concludes.

Policies can be an effective solution for changing research culture and practice. A growing number of research-performing organisations (institutions) and funding agencies have policies that support open research practices — sharing of research data, code and software — as do publishers. Seeking to deepen our understanding of funder and institution needs related to open research, we surveyed more than 100 funders and institutions in 2020. We wanted to know if they are evaluating how researchers share data and code, how they are doing it, why they are doing it, and how satisfied they are with their ability to get these tasks done. Our results are available as a preprint along with an anonymised dataset….

Simple solutions more publishers could provide include:

Mandatory Data Availability Statements (DAS) in all relevant publications.
Across the STM industry around 15% of papers include a DAS. Since we introduced our data availability policy in 2014, 100% of PLOS research articles include a DAS.
Supporting researchers to provide information on why research data (and code) are not publicly available with their publications.
Time and again “data available on request” has been shown to be ineffective at supporting new research — and is not permitted in PLOS journals. 
Enabling and encouraging the use of data repositories.
Recommending the use of data repositories is a useful step, but making them easily and freely accessible — integrated into the publishing process — can be even more effective. Rates of repository use are higher in journals that partner closely with repositories and remove cost barriers to their use.
Providing visible links to research data on publications. Many researchers also struggle to find data they can reuse, hence PLOS will soon be experimenting with improving this functionality in our articles, and integrating the Dryad repository with submission….”

 

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