Many thanks to all those who entered the Mendeley Brainstorm related to Open Data; picking a winner given the well thought out answers was not easy, however in the end, we selected Sarah’s post:
When we talk about Open Data, there are really two separate issues: the sharing of raw data and open access to publications.
Sharing of raw data is incredibly valuable for the scientific community. Any group that chooses to publish polished interpretations of their data (such as a paper) must also be responsible for the quality of the raw data and/or analysis that went into it. Because researchers may have unrealized biases in data analysis and interpretation, it is vital that the raw data also be available for examination.
Open access is a thornier issue. While the benefits (greater spread of knowledge, greater inclusion in science, greater connection with the public) are valuable, our current system of publication does not incentivize open access. Treating the scientific publication process as a public good, as academic research is treated, may therefore be a valuable approach to solve this issue of incentives.
Sarah is a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin, She wrote:
I’m….studying retinal development, so my interaction with Open Data is more the general academic experience and thinking about it abstractly. The first part of my response was mostly inspired by my experiences reading papers and the frustration of knowing they’re only the beautified surface of the work that was actually done. The second part of my response was actually inspired by economics podcasts like Planet Money and Freakonomics, which are some of my favorite things to listen to while doing lab work.
She also told us:
Also I just want to take the chance to thank everyone at Mendeley! I really appreciate that you’ve made it more than just a useful application (and it is incredibly useful).
Thank you, Sarah!