Fecher, B., Friesike, S., Hebing, M., Linek, S. (2017). A reputation economy: how individual reward considerations trump systemic arguments for open access to data. Palgrave Communications
3, Article number: 17051.
Open access to research data has been described as a driver of innovation and a potential cure for the reproducibility crisis in many academic fields. Against this backdrop, policy makers are increasingly advocating for making research data and supporting material openly available online. Despite its potential to further scientific progress, widespread data sharing in small science is still an ideal practised in moderation. In this article, we explore the question of what drives open access to research data using a survey among 1564 mainly German researchers across all disciplines. We show that, regardless of their disciplinary background, researchers recognize the benefits of open access to research data for both their own research and scientific progress as a whole. Nonetheless, most researchers share their data only selectively. We show that individual reward considerations conflict with widespread data sharing. Based on our results, we present policy implications that are in line with both individual reward considerations and scientific progress.
Report can be found as a PDF on the bottom of the page.
This is a great example for citizen science with tradition.
According to the Audubon Society’s website, orinthologist Frank Chapman organized the first Christmas bird count in 1900. The activity was an alternative to the “side hunts” which were popular at the time, the goal of which was to shoot as many animals as possible. The first count featured 27 birders and stretched from Canada to California. The birders made note of about 90 species. The tradition has since continued.
German academic institutions demand to improve the status quo regarding open access to research articles.
In this reserach paper Kaja Scheliga, Sascha Friesike, Cornelius Puschmann and Benedikt Fecher deal with the setup of crowd science projects.
Crowd science is scientific research that is conducted with the participation of volunteers who are not professional scientists. Thanks to the Internet and online platforms, project initiators can draw on a potentially large number of volunteers. This crowd can be involved to support data-rich or labour-intensive projects that would otherwise be unfeasible. So far, research on crowd science has mainly focused on analysing individual crowd science projects. In our research, we focus on the perspective of project initiators and explore how crowd science projects are set up. Based on multiple case study research, we discuss the objectives of crowd science projects and the strategies of their initiators for accessing volunteers. We also categorise the tasks allocated to volunteers and reflect on the issue of quality assurance as well as feedback mechanisms. With this article, we contribute to a better understanding of how crowd science projects are set up and how volunteers can contribute to science. We suggest that our findings are of practical relevance for initiators of crowd science projects, for science communication as well as for informed science policy making.
Soenke Bartling and Benedikt Fecher on the use of blockchain technology in research.
Currently blockchain is being hyped. Many claim that the blockchain revolution will affect not only our online life, but will profoundly change many more aspects of our society. Many foresee these changes as potentially being more far-reaching than those brought by the internet in the last two decades. If this holds true, it is certain that research and knowledge creation will also be affected by this. So, what is blockchain all about? More importantly, could knowledge creation benefit from it? One potential area it could be useful is in addressing the credibility and reproducibility crisis in science.
In this article Benedikt Fecher and Gert Wagner argue that the current endeavors to achieve open access in scientific literature require a discussion about innovation in scholarly publishing and research infrastructure. Drawing on path dependence theory and addressing different open access (OA) models and recent political endeavors, the authors argue that academia is once again running the risk of outsourcing the organization of its content.
Wikimedia Germany offers fellowships for Open-Science-practitioners.
A small step in the right direction for open data in Chemistry.
Researchers from the German Institute of Economic research in Berlin present the results of a recent survey among social and behavioral researchers on data sharing and replication. Working paper out now.
Peter Suber's excellent readings on Open Access; of course free to download.
Benedikt Fecher and Gert Wagner in a recent Science letter on credit for academic data sharing.
Gert Wagner and Benedikt Fecher reply to an editorial about data sharing
Longo and Drazen miss the very point of scientific research when they write, that the researchers may «even use the data to try to disprove what the original investigators had posited«. It is at the core of the scientific paradigm that researchers take nothing as final truth. This is what Popper proposed in his critical rationalism and Merton in his conceptualization of skepticism.
Last week, Longo and Drazen published a frantic editorial in the New England Journal of Medicing
on academic data sharing, implying that researchers that use data from other researcher are "research parasites". The journal replied:
We want to clarify, given recent concern about our policy, that the Journal is committed to data sharing in the setting of clinical trials. As stated in the Institute of Medicine report from the committee1 on which I served and the recent editorial by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE),2 we believe there is a moral obligation to the people who volunteer to participate in these trials to ensure that their data are widely and responsibly used.
Today Cendari (Collaborative European Digital Archive Infrastructure) has been launched. It is featured as a "powerful toolkit for digital historical research".
Wiki4R will create an innovative virtual research environment (VRE) for Open Science at scale, engaging both professional researchers and citizen data scientists in new and potentially transformative forms of collaboration.
This looks great! Why Open Research is an educational resource for researchers to learn about the benefits of sharing their work. It is well designed and we just yesterday talked about the fact that something like this would be useful.
Here is a blog post that provides a bit of a background to the project.
Hackmann and Boulton on challenges for science and how to react