Journals’ Data Sharing Expectations Remain High and Growing

July 8, 2020

Recent quick publication and retractions of COVID-19 related studies in journals as significant as British Medical Journal attest to the value of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors’ increasing expectations that the data on which authors base their articles is available for sharing within a reasonable period of time after publication.  

Since 2018, the ICMJE and the 2000+ journals that endorse their platform have required that authors submit a data sharing statement along with their manuscript in order to build a culture and expectation of sharing. While a “no sharing” plan and statement is acceptable to some, like NEJM, others, like BMJ, required individual participant data sharing (de-identified) as early as 2013.

Remember, unless a contract specifies a different allocation, data collected by faculty in University-based research is a University asset. Data sharing options, from depositing the data in a repository to making it available privately upon reasonable request with a Data Use Agreement brokered by DOCTR, each have pros and cons. Best practice entails careful consideration of the data sets that will be acquired even as a protocol is being written, and planning how they can be stored, managed, and subsequently shared with sufficient metadata to make that sharing meaningful. The Taubman Health Sciences Library provides guidance to consider what plan best suits your research and what sort of data sharing statement to use. For an individual consultation with an Informationist at the library, email healthDMPhelp@umich.edu. For more information about drafting a Data Use Agreement, contact the Data Office.