30 Jul 2012 INSIDE THE BOX: Solutions for Data Sharing in Life Sciences
BioTeam’s Ari Berman authors this month’s Inside The Box Column:
“Sharing scientific data is as fundamental to the progression of science as the research design itself. Without data sharing, experiments cannot be peer-reviewed, and scientists cannot perpetuate existing findings by taking the next steps in the laboratory.
Unfortunately, data sharing is becoming more and more difficult. Compare scientific papers published in the early 90’s to those published in 2012 — the differences are striking. Back then, any and all data associated with a project could fit in a figure or two, so the paper itself was the point of data sharing. Today, more and more papers are published with reams of supplementary data, e.g. PDF tables can reach hundreds of pages and are themselves a distilled and reduced version of the original data. (New initiatives such as the journal GigaScience and its associated database should help address this issue.) This illustrates the crux of the issue: modern research produces tons of data and publications are no longer a viable medium for sharing all those data.”