In another step towards improved transparency, Nature and 12 other Nature titles have announced a new policy that requires authors to include a data availability statement in all papers reporting original research.
These statements, trialled previously in five Nature journals, aim to provide information to the reader on whether they can access the data “necessary to interpret, replicate and build on the methods or findings reported in the article” and how they can go about doing this. The policy also encourages authors to cite data sets with an assigned digital object identifier. It is thought that both approaches will not only improve the reuse of published research, but also increase recognition for those who create and share data.
The initial trial, which took place earlier this year, highlighted differences between disciplines in the awareness and openness to data sharing, and illustrated that a lack of appropriate data repositories can be a barrier to adopting the practice. It is hoped that implementation of the policy across all Nature journals by early next year will assist in promoting transparent data sharing, following similar moves by other journals and also a number of research and funding bodies. This policy is part of a larger project by the publisher, Springer Nature, to standardise data policies across all of its journals.