Standardising and harmonising research data policy in scholarly publishing

Authors : Iain Hrynaszkiewicz, Aliaksandr Birukou, Mathias Astell, Sowmya Swaminathan, Amye Kenall, Varsha Khodiyar

To address the complexities researchers face during publication, and the potential community-wide benefits of wider adoption of clear data policies, the publisher Springer Nature has developed a standardised, common framework for the research data policies of all its journals. An expert working group was convened to audit and identify common features of research data policies of the journals published by Springer Nature, where policies were present.

The group then consulted with approximately 30 editors, covering all research disciplines, within the organisation. The group also consulted with academic editors and librarians and funders, which informed development of the framework and the creation of supporting resources.

Four types of data policy were defined in recognition that some journals and research communities are more ready than others to adopt strong data policies. As of January 2017 more than 700 journals have adopted a standard policy and this number is growing weekly. To potentially enable standardisation and harmonisation of data policy across funders, institutions, repositories, societies and other publishers the policy framework was made available under a Creative Commons license.

However, the framework requires wider debate with these stakeholders and an Interest Group within the Research Data Alliance (RDA) has been formed to initiate this process.

This paper was presented at the 12th International Digital Curation Conference, Edinburgh, UK on 22 February 2017 and will be submitted to International Journal of Digital Curation.

URL : Standardising and harmonising research data policy in scholarly publishing


A simple proposal for the publication of journal citation distributions

Authors : Vincent Larivière, Véronique Kiermer, Catriona J. MacCallum, Marcia McNutt, Mark Patterson, Bernd Pulverer, Sowmya Swaminathan, Stuart Taylor, Stephen Curry

Although the Journal Impact Factor (JIF) is widely acknowledged to be a poor indicator of the quality of individual papers, it is used routinely to evaluate research and researchers. Here, we present a simple method for generating the citation distributions that underlie JIFs.

Application of this straightforward protocol reveals the full extent of the skew of distributions and variation in citations received by published papers that is characteristic of all scientific journals.

Although there are differences among journals across the spectrum of JIFs, the citation distributions overlap extensively, demonstrating that the citation performance of individual papers cannot be inferred from the JIF.

We propose that this methodology be adopted by all journals as a move to greater transparency, one that should help to refocus attention on individual pieces of work and counter the inappropriate usage of JIFs during the process of research assessment.

URL : A simple proposal for the publication of journal citation distributions

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