The results for 1564 valid responses show that researchers across disciplines recognise the benefit of secondary research data for their own work and for scientific progress as a whole—still they only practice it in moderation. An explanation for this evidence could be an academic system that is not driven by monetary incentives, nor the desire for scientific progress, but by individual reputation—expressed in (high ranked journal) publications. We label this system a Reputation Economy. This special economy explains our findings that show that researchers have a nuanced idea how to provide adequate formal recognition for making data available to others—namely data citations. We conclude that data sharing will only be widely adopted among research professionals if sharing pays in form of reputation. Thus, policy measures that intend to foster research collaboration need to understand academia as a reputation economy. Successful measures must value intermediate products, such as research data, more highly than it is the case now.
As a community, we envision a future information ecosystem in which research data is considered an integral part of scholarly communications. Jennifer Lin and Carly Strasser plosbiology.org
I co-founded the Public Library of Science (PLOS) in 2002 because I believed deeply that the open access publishing model PLOS espoused and has come to dominate was good for science, scientists and the public. Over the past decade open access has become a personal crusade – my own religion – one I have fervently promoted here on this blog, on social media, and to thousands of colleagues at meetings and social engagements. To back up my commitment to open access, since 2000, I have exclusively published papers from my lab in open access journals, and have urged – some might say hectored and harassed – my colleagues to do the same.But in the last few weeks I have had a major change of heart.