Policy Extraction and Seat Belts : Do Your Part !

Posted on July 20, 2010 by


For the last few weeks I have been extracting elements of data sharing and citation policies into a series of datasets (links below) What I am trying to capture are the essential elements of what is present in current policies. I’ve looked specifically at three categories of journals:

Evolutionary Biology http://tables.googlelabs.com/DataSource?snapid=68246

Ecology http://tables.googlelabs.com/DataSource?snapid=68743

And Envrionmental Sciences http://tables.googlelabs.com/DataSource?snapid=68245

The categories were determined by Reuters Journal Citation Report . I evaluated each journal in these three categories hoping to get a good range of the policies affecting a researcher attempting to publish in this domain.

I’ve also spent a fair amount of time looking into data sharing and citing policies for funding agencies and repositories as well. Our investigations into these sources was an attempt to be holistic, and get a wider view of the policies affecting not just publication but funding and archiving as well.

It’s been an enlightening look at what is surely an emerging area of important for policy development. The variation in requirements and mandates is quite surprising; some agencies say nothing or just a paragraph about the importance of data sharing while others have 15 page manuals with extended commentary on not only the importance of sharing a dataset but extensive recommendations for archiving a number of data types.

It’s also been a frustrating experience in some respects. Some journals with mission statements that stress their devotion to expanding communication in the fields of ecology make no mention of the need to share or attribute data. And not to bite the hand that feeds, but in their grant conditions, NSF devotes as much space to their direction on SEATBELT SAFETY as they do data sharing (www.nsf.gov/pubs/gc1/jan09.pdf).

Nevertheless, I am sure there are portions of my own extraction effort that have either missed an essential policy element or neglected a set of funding agencies important to this specific domain. So I’d love for a community of stakeholders to take a look at my data so far and give me feedback. You can let me know if you see a resource missing,or a mistake by using the comment feature on Google FusionTables (user: nicholas.m.weber) , write on my OWW Notebook Page – or send me an email: nmweber@illinois.edu.

And of course don’t forget to Buckle Up if you’re driving.  (I want to be clear, I’m not belittling safety on the road. Wear your seatbelt.)