What incentives increase data sharing in health and medical research? A systematic review

Authors : Anisa Rowhani-Farid, Michelle Allen, Adrian G. Barnett


The foundation of health and medical research is data. Data sharing facilitates the progress of research and strengthens science. Data sharing in research is widely discussed in the literature; however, there are seemingly no evidence-based incentives that promote data sharing.


A systematic review (registration: doi.org/10.17605/OSF.IO/6PZ5E) of the health and medical research literature was used to uncover any evidence-based incentives, with pre- and post-empirical data that examined data sharing rates.

We were also interested in quantifying and classifying the number of opinion pieces on the importance of incentives, the number observational studies that analysed data sharing rates and practices, and strategies aimed at increasing data sharing rates.


Only one incentive (using open data badges) has been tested in health and medical research that examined data sharing rates. The number of opinion pieces (n = 85) out-weighed the number of article-testing strategies (n = 76), and the number of observational studies exceeded them both (n = 106).


Given that data is the foundation of evidence-based health and medical research, it is paradoxical that there is only one evidence-based incentive to promote data sharing. More well-designed studies are needed in order to increase the currently low rates of data sharing.

URL : What incentives increase data sharing in health and medical research? A systematic review

Alternative location : http://researchintegrityjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s41073-017-0028-9

Should biomedical research be like Airbnb?

Authors : Vivien R. Bonazzi, Philip E. Bourne

The thesis presented here is that biomedical research is based on the trusted exchange of services. That exchange would be conducted more efficiently if the trusted software platforms to exchange those services, if they exist, were more integrated.

While simpler and narrower in scope than the services governing biomedical research, comparison to existing internet-based platforms, like Airbnb, can be informative.

We illustrate how the analogy to internet-based platforms works and does not work and introduce The Commons, under active development at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and elsewhere, as an example of the move towards platforms for research.

URL : Should biomedical research be like Airbnb?

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.2001818

The Global Burden of Journal Peer Review in the Biomedical Literature: Strong Imbalance in the Collective Enterprise

Authors : Michail Kovanis, Raphaël Porcher, Philippe Ravaud, Ludovic Trinquart

The growth in scientific production may threaten the capacity for the scientific community to handle the ever-increasing demand for peer review of scientific publications. There is little evidence regarding the sustainability of the peer-review system and how the scientific community copes with the burden it poses.

We used mathematical modeling to estimate the overall quantitative annual demand for peer review and the supply in biomedical research. The modeling was informed by empirical data from various sources in the biomedical domain, including all articles indexed at MEDLINE.

We found that for 2015, across a range of scenarios, the supply exceeded by 15% to 249% the demand for reviewers and reviews. However, 20% of the researchers performed 69% to 94% of the reviews.

Among researchers actually contributing to peer review, 70% dedicated 1% or less of their research work-time to peer review while 5% dedicated 13% or more of it. An estimated 63.4 million hours were devoted to peer review in 2015, among which 18.9 million hours were provided by the top 5% contributing reviewers.

Our results support that the system is sustainable in terms of volume but emphasizes a considerable imbalance in the distribution of the peer-review effort across the scientific community.

Finally, various individual interactions between authors, editors and reviewers may reduce to some extent the number of reviewers who are available to editors at any point.

URL : The Global Burden of Journal Peer Review in the Biomedical Literature: Strong Imbalance in the Collective Enterprise

DOI : http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0166387

Reproducible and reusable research: Are journal data sharing policies meeting the mark?

Author : Nicole A Vasilevsky, Jessica Minnier, Melissa A Haendel, Robin E Champieux


There is wide agreement in the biomedical research community that research data sharing is a primary ingredient for ensuring that science is more transparent and reproducible.

Publishers could play an important role in facilitating and enforcing data sharing; however, many journals have not yet implemented data sharing policies and the requirements vary widely across journals. This study set out to analyze the pervasiveness and quality of data sharing policies in the biomedical literature.


The online author’s instructions and editorial policies for 318 biomedical journals were manually reviewed to analyze the journal’s data sharing requirements and characteristics.

The data sharing policies were ranked using a rubric to determine if data sharing was required, recommended, required only for omics data, or not addressed at all. The data sharing method and licensing recommendations were examined, as well any mention of reproducibility or similar concepts.

The data was analyzed for patterns relating to publishing volume, Journal Impact Factor, and the publishing model (open access or subscription) of each journal.


11.9% of journals analyzed explicitly stated that data sharing was required as a condition of publication. 9.1% of journals required data sharing, but did not state that it would affect publication decisions. 23.3% of journals had a statement encouraging authors to share their data but did not require it.

There was no mention of data sharing in 31.8% of journals. Impact factors were significantly higher for journals with the strongest data sharing policies compared to all other data sharing mark categories. Open access journals were not more likely to require data sharing than subscription journals.


Our study confirmed earlier investigations which observed that only a minority of biomedical journals require data sharing, and a significant association between higher Impact Factors and journals with a data sharing requirement.

Moreover, while 65.7% of the journals in our study that required data sharing addressed the concept of reproducibility, as with earlier investigations, we found that most data sharing policies did not provide specific guidance on the practices that ensure data is maximally available and reusable.

URL : Reproducible and reusable research: Are journal data sharing policies meeting the mark?

DOI : https://peerj.com/articles/3208/


How Do Scientists Define Openness? Exploring the Relationship Between Open Science Policies and Research Practice

Authors : Nadine Levin, Sabina Leonelli, Dagmara Weckowska, David Castle, John Dupré

This article documents how biomedical researchers in the United Kingdom understand and enact the idea of “openness.”

This is of particular interest to researchers and science policy worldwide in view of the recent adoption of pioneering policies on Open Science and Open Access by the U.K. government—policies whose impact on and implications for research practice are in need of urgent evaluation, so as to decide on their eventual implementation elsewhere.

This study is based on 22 in-depth interviews with U.K. researchers in systems biology, synthetic biology, and bioinformatics, which were conducted between September 2013 and February 2014.

Through an analysis of the interview transcripts, we identify seven core themes that characterize researchers’ understanding of openness in science and nine factors that shape the practice of openness in research.

Our findings highlight the implications that Open Science policies can have for research processes and outcomes and provide recommendations for enhancing their content, effectiveness, and implementation.

URL : How Do Scientists Define Openness? Exploring the Relationship Between Open Science Policies and Research Practice

Alternative location : http://bst.sagepub.com/content/early/2016/09/30/0270467616668760.abstract

Chinese Postgraduate Medical Students Researching for Publication

Author : Yongyan Li

The value of including a research component in medical students’ training programs has been widely recognized. Nevertheless, examples of how this may be done are rarely found in the literature.

The case study reported in this short paper aimed to address this gap in the literature by investigating how a group of postgraduate students attached to the Orthopedics Department of a major hospital in China engaged in research for publication.

Fourteen students were interviewed, and their “mission lists” were analyzed to reveal the students’ research profiles, the sources of their research ideas, and their data collection activities.

The study showed that the students pursued more clinical than basic research topics, their research topics often fell under their immediate supervisors’ larger projects, and the students were actively engaged in the gathering of research data on the wards and at the outpatient clinic.

The reported study does not claim generalizability of its findings. More of such reports from various settings in different parts of the world are needed to enhance constructive exchanges and mutual learning.

URL : Chinese Postgraduate Medical Students Researching for Publication

DOI : http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/publications4030025

Open access publishing trend analysis: statistics beyond the perception

Authors : Elisabetta Poltronieri, Elena Bravo, Moreno Curti, Maurizio Ferri, Cristina Mancini


The purpose of this analysis was twofold: to track the number of open access journals acquiring impact factor, and to investigate the distribution of subject categories pertaining to these journals. As a case study, journals in which the researchers of the National Institute of Health (Istituto Superiore di Sanità) in Italy have published were surveyed.


Data were collected by searching open access journals listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals ) then compared with those having an impact factor as tracked by the Journal Citation Reports for the years 2010-2012. Journal Citation Reports subject categories were matched with Medical Subject Headings to provide a larger content classification.


A survey was performed to determine the Directory journals matching the Journal Citation Reports list, and their inclusion in a given subject area.


In the years 2010-2012, an increase in the number of journals was observed for Journal Citation Reports (+ 4.93%) and for the Directory (+18.51%). The discipline showing the highest increment was medicine (315 occurrences, 26%).


From 2010 to 2012, the number of open access journals with impact factor has gradually risen, with a prevalence for journals relating to medicine and biological science disciplines, suggesting that authors prefer to publish more than before in open access journals.

URL : http://www.informationr.net/ir/21-2/paper712.html