Long-term availability of data associated with articles in PLOS ONE

Author : Lisa M. Federer

The adoption of journal policies requiring authors to include a Data Availability Statement has helped to increase the availability of research data associated with research articles. However, having a Data Availability Statement is not a guarantee that readers will be able to locate the data; even if provided with an identifier like a uniform resource locator (URL) or a digital object identifier (DOI), the data may become unavailable due to link rot and content drift. :

To explore the long-term availability of resources including data, code, and other digital research objects associated with papers, this study extracted 8,503 URLs and DOIs from a corpus of nearly 50,000 Data Availability Statements from papers published in PLOS ONE between 2014 and 2016.

These URLs and DOIs were used to attempt to retrieve the data through both automated and manual means. Overall, 80% of the resources could be retrieved automatically, compared to much lower retrieval rates of 10–40% found in previous papers that relied on contacting authors to locate data.

Because a URL or DOI might be valid but still not point to the resource, a subset of 350 URLs and 350 DOIs were manually tested, with 78% and 98% of resources, respectively, successfully retrieved.

Having a DOI and being shared in a repository were both positively associated with availability. Although resources associated with older papers were slightly less likely to be available, this difference was not statistically significant, suggesting that URLs and DOIs may be an effective means for accessing data over time.

These findings point to the value of including URLs and DOIs in Data Availability Statements to ensure access to data on a long-term basis.

URL : Long-term availability of data associated with articles in PLOS ONE

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0272845

Data sharing in PLOS ONE: An analysis of Data Availability Statements

Authors : Lisa M. Federer, Christopher W. Belter, Douglas J. Joubert, Alicia Livinski, Ya-Ling Lu, Lissa N. Snyders, Holly Thompson

A number of publishers and funders, including PLOS, have recently adopted policies requiring researchers to share the data underlying their results and publications. Such policies help increase the reproducibility of the published literature, as well as make a larger body of data available for reuse and re-analysis.

In this study, we evaluate the extent to which authors have complied with this policy by analyzing Data Availability Statements from 47,593 papers published in PLOS ONE between March 2014 (when the policy went into effect) and May 2016.

Our analysis shows that compliance with the policy has increased, with a significant decline over time in papers that did not include a Data Availability Statement. However, only about 20% of statements indicate that data are deposited in a repository, which the PLOS policy states is the preferred method.

More commonly, authors state that their data are in the paper itself or in the supplemental information, though it is unclear whether these data meet the level of sharing required in the PLOS policy.

These findings suggest that additional review of Data Availability Statements or more stringent policies may be needed to increase data sharing.

URL : Data sharing in PLOS ONE: An analysis of Data Availability Statements

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0194768