Methods

Research questions

The specific research questions for this study include:

  • How do authors’ attitudes, experiences, and practices around public data archiving change when the journals they publish in adopt mandatory data archiving policies?
  • Are changes specific to the journals that implement the policies, or do they extend to other journals in the same subfield?

Journals

Data will be collected by online questionnaire responses through participation invitations to corresponding authors who publish in journals chosen for this study.

Three groups of journals have been chosen:

Policy-implementing Group:

  • Biology journals that adopted JDAP or a similar new data archiving policy in January 2011
  • classified as “Evolutionary Biology” or “Ecology” by Thomson Reuters Journal Citation Reports in 2009.

Within-Community control Group:

  • Biology journals that did not adopt a new data sharing policy in January 2011 (may or may not have a preexisting strong data archiving policy) but are otherwise similar to those in the Policy-implementing Group
  • AND classified as “Evolutionary Biology” or “Ecology” by Thomson Reuters Journal Citation Reports in 2009.

Outside-Community control Group:

  • Biology journals that did not adopt a new data sharing policy in January 2011 (may or may not have a preexisting strong data archiving policy) but are otherwise similar to those in the Policy-implementing Group
  • NOT classified as “Evolutionary Biology” or “Ecology” journals by Thomson Reuters Journal Citation Reports in 2009.

Each control group was chosen to have about twice as many journals as the Policy-implementing group, for a total of 48 journals:

Analysis

The primary analysis will be a seven-point Likert scale asking how strongly authors believe:  “It is the community norm in my field to publicly archive all supporting datasets online, for use by anyone for any purpose, upon publication of a peer-reviewed research article.”  Additional questionnaire responses will allow secondary and exploratory analyses.

Aggregate answers will be compared over time, to understand if answers of authors in journals that adopt a policy that requires data archiving begin to differ from those of authors in comparable within-community and outside-community control journals.