by PLOS Biology, PLOS Genetics and PLOS Computational Biology
Publication is the end of one journey, but the beginning of another (longer) one, where the ideas and the underlying data that shaped them take on a life of their own. As part of our commitment to fostering scientific progress through scholarly communication, we’re hoping to ensure the more lasting utility of published research down the line.
As we’ve discussed before, an open access paper is enhanced enormously if it’s directly linked to the openly available data from which it was constructed. Data availability enables replication, reanalysis, new analysis, interpretation, or inclusion into meta-analyses, and facilitates reproducibility of research.
With this in mind, we updated our data access policy in March 2014, and we’ve been listening closely to the discussions that ensued. Researchers across different subject areas have raised questions about our policy and how it applies to their work. This has helped us gain a deeper awareness of those areas in the policy that needed clarification and elaboration, as well as a deeper appreciation of the challenges associated with information scarcity.
In the hope of addressing these, we’ve released an expanded set of FAQs across each of our journal sites. These include:
- more detail on specific data types (sensitive data, big data, etc.)
- general information on data deposition
- more detail on PLOS’ submission requirements for data
We’ve also re-organized the information to accommodate the expanded content. While we hope this will give you a more accessible up-front information source, we also encourage you to send any more specific inquiries to respective journals. And as this is an ongoing process, we’ll add to the FAQs over time to continue to provide better support for the data access policy. As always, we welcome feedback (data[at]plos[dot]org).