Software Carpentry

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Who Owns Your Data?

Nature‘s “Great Beyond” blog reports another attempt to force climate scientists to release their data. I’m of at least two minds on this: I believe openness is absolutely crucial to science (and society as a whole), but I understand scientists’ concern about being scooped, and equally their concern about having their work misrepresented or quoted out of context. Mostly, I come down on the side of openness—how about you?

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Written by Greg Wilson

2009/08/24 at 18:29

Posted in Noticed, Opinion

2 Responses

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  1. Published research *must* make its data available so that others can confirm that the analysis checks out. It’s not just about openness, but scientific integrity; we should be wary of researchers who refuse to permit checks of their results.

    Granted, this means that you risk getting scooped if you have further investigations you’d like to pursue on the same data set, but that is the risk you take for the benefit of publishing multiple reports from the same data set.

    Mike Lawrence

    2009/08/24 at 21:45

    • Ah, reading the article I now see it’s unclear whether the data in question was ever actually published or not. That said, if freedom of information acts are involved, then presumably this is data that was collected via publicly funded mechanisms, in which case there maybe should be a system in place where after a certain grace period (for the scientists to use the data for published research, maybe 5 years?) the data must be opened to the public.

      Mike Lawrence

      2009/08/24 at 21:50


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