Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Impact of Social Sciences – Publishing and sharing data papers can increase impact and benefits researchers, publishers, funders and libraries


Publishing and sharing data papers can increase impact and benefits researchers, publishers, funders and libraries

process of compiling and submitting data papers to journals has long
been a frustrating one to the minority of researchers that have tried. Fiona Murphy,
part of a project team working to automate this process, outlines why
publishing data papers is important and how open data can be of benefit
to all stakeholders across scholarly communications and higher
Giving Researchers Credit for their Data –
or ‘Data2Paper’ as we’re now more snappily calling it – is a
cloud-based app which uses existing DataCite and ORCID-derived metadata
to automate the process of compiling and submitting a data paper to a
journal without the researcher having to leave the research space or
wrestle directly with the journal’s submission system (an occasional
source of frustration):
Sound too good to be true? Well, at the time of writing it is. However, a small project team – led by Bodleian Libraries and F1000Research – is working hard to make it reality.
Part of Jisc’s Research Data Spring initiative, Data2Paper is now in Phase 3. We’ve built on work done by the WDS-RDA Publishing Data Workflow Working Group on data publishing, run a survey for stakeholders to establish the baseline demand, and produced a (so far silent) demonstration video.
Now we’re building a live end-to-end workflow for testing with real
authors, data sets, repositories and journals. Partners for this phase
include the University of Manchester, Mendeley Data and Elsevier, but we’ve also had helpful input from ORCID, Figshare, Project THOR and SURF as well as expressions of interest from a wide range of publishers and repositories.
What are we hoping to achieve with the
app? As well as improving the lives of researchers wishing to publish
data papers using data sets, we believe it could prove beneficial to a
range of key stakeholders:
  • Funders – this service encourages better research data management
  • Researchers are more likely to engage with the repositories
    if they are likely to derive a citable research object at the cost of a
    few minutes’ work. There would be additional metrics available, as well
    as better information about re-use. It should also encourage better
    data citation practices than are currently in evidence
  • Publishers – can secure a pipeline of (better quality) data papers directly to journal submission systems
  • Higher education institutions – this is an additional opportunity to demonstrate research impact and derive metrics
  • Repositories – improves their range of services and
    represents an opportunity to engage researchers to not only comply but
    also engage with data management and deposition
  • ORCID – this is also an opportunity to enhance ORCID’s value
    proposition by increasing its directly useful function for both
    researchers and HEIs (for instance, ORCID can automatically inform the
    researcher/institution directly if a data paper is published).
dataImage credit: DATA by Janet McKnight. This work is licensed under a CC BY 2.0 license.
And what’s the wider context for
publishing data papers? Those who have been keeping an eye on this topic
will be well aware that the debate as to whether the ‘data paper’ and
‘data journal’ are more than a transitional or transient scholarly
communication format and medium is still ongoing (see, for instance, the
session at SciDataCon in September: ‘Do we need data journals?’).
And currently very few researchers are publishing their data – it
simply hasn’t been integrated into their training, workflows or
incentive schemes. Funders, publishers and other organisations such as
DataCite have been working hard to raise awareness of the benefits in
general terms to ‘science’, but it’s been difficult to make the case to
the individual for taking the time to pull together a data paper.
However, in recent years, evidence has
been amassing which appears to correlate increased impact of primary
research with the discoverability of its underlying data (e.g. Piwowar and Vision’s analysis that specifically concentrated on micro-array data) and the research landscape has been adapting accordingly. For instance:
  • The Research Data Alliance
    fosters a number of working groups designed to provide practical and
    scientifically rigorous support to encourage and enable researchers to
    share their data (e.g. Data Citation WG Recommendations, WDS-RDA Publishing Data Workflows WG and RDA-CODATA Summer Schools in Data Science WG)
  • Thomson Reuters has been developing its Data Citation Index with a view to building the analytics and services it anticipates will be needed for future research assessment and evaluation
  • In June 2016, Earth System Science Data
    became the first data journal to achieve an impact factor. At 8.286, it
    already ranks 2nd in Meteorology & Atmospheric Sciences and 3rd in
    Geosciences, Multidisciplinary. This is a significant event in data
    publishing communities as it has implications for perceived – and
    measurable – value, publisher interest and potential revenue streams (as
    data paper publishing itself starts to gain traction via Article
    Publication Charges).
Finally, the UK Concordat on Open Research Data
was published on 28 July 2016 with a foreword by Jo Johnson, Minister
of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation. Although
not an official state document as such, it has been drawn up by a wide
range of stakeholders and it makes strong representations about the
significance of open data by way of its Ten Principles. Principle Five,
for instance, includes:
“Production of open research
data should be acknowledged formally as a legitimate output of the
research process and should be recognised as such by employers, research
funders and others in contributing to an individual’s professional
profile in relation to promotion, research assessment and research
funding decisions. Such formal recognition should be accompanied by the
development and use of responsible metrics that allow the collection and
tracking of data use and impact. In general, data citations should be
accorded appropriate importance in the scholarly record relative to
citations of other research objects, such as publications.”
As these initiatives and policy influences
further permeate the research community ecosystem, it does feel as
though some real transformations will begin to take effect. It remains
the case, however, that both social and technical drivers and barriers
need to be understood and addressed in order for the majority of
researchers to take the view that sharing their open data is – usually –
the right thing to do.
To that end, we’d love to hear from anyone
who would like more information about our app or is keen to work with
us – so do get in touch!
Note: This article gives the views of
the author, and not the position of the LSE Impact Blog, nor of the
London School of Economics. Please review our 
comments policy if you have any concerns on posting a comment below.
About the author
After completing a DPhil in English Literature, Fiona Murphy
held a range of scholarly publishing roles with Oxford University
Press, Bloomsbury Academic and Wiley. At Wiley, she specialised in
emerging scholarly communications with particular emphasis on open
science and open data. She is a past and current member of research
projects including PREPARDE (Peer Review of Research Data in the Earth
Sciences), Data2Paper (a cloud-based app for automating the data article
submission process) and the Belmont Forum (a multi-national,
multi-agency global environmental change project – in association with
the IEA). She is Co-Chair of the WDS-RDA Publishing Data Workflows
Working Group, and on the Organising Committee for the Force11 Scholarly
Commons Working Group. An independent publishing consultant advising
institutions, learned societies and commercial publishing companies,
Fiona is an Associate Fellow at the Institute for Environmental
Analytics (University of Reading) and has written and presented widely
on data publishing, open data and open science.
Print Friendly

Impact of Social Sciences – Publishing and sharing data papers can increase impact and benefits researchers, publishers, funders and libraries

No comments:

Post a Comment