Agreeing on a DAS

The Data Availability Statement (other names are available) is a particular interest of mine, I think it’s a gateway drug to becoming more open with your science. It doesn’t force you to share, but for some people (there will always be those who are stuck in their ways) having to explain why you won’t share your data makes them think a bit harder about whether they could.

Maybe I’m just naive, but anyone who knows me knows that I’m pretty cool with that.

So although I’m a big fan of the DAS, whether it tells you how to get the data or not, it’s not a very easy thing to research, particularly in an automated way, because it’s not always labelled very well.

I’ve been trying to look at compliance with UK Research Council’s positions on DAS (mostly, you need to have one), it’s a quick and dirty analysis using Google Scholar, and it’s likely to end up here rather than in a paper. One of the biggest problems I’ve been coming up against is how to “catch ’em all”.

I’ve found DAS in the following sections:

  • Acknowledgements
  • Associated Files
  • Availability and requirements
  • Availability of data and materials
  • Conclusions
  • Data availability
  • Data Access
  • Data accessibility
  • Data and software availability
  • Data Statement
  • Electronic Supplementary Materials
  • Notes
  • Supplementary Data
  • Supplementary Material(s)
  • Supplementary information
  • Supporting information

The majority of times that I’ve found it in e.g. the Acknowledgements or the Conclusions it was due to researchers trying to force it into a journal which just didn’t have the capability to include it in its current template. Researcher’s trying their best to do the right thing despite the restrictions of the journal.

Journals could help a lot by creating a specific section in a paper to include this information (and many already do). Maybe they could even talk to each other and decide on some wording?

If you’re also interested in DAS, there’s an excellent new preprint here: Colavizza, G., Hrynaszkiewicz, I., Staden, I., Whitaker, K., & McGillivray, B. (2019). The citation advantage of linking publications to research dataarXiv preprint arXiv:1907.02565.

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