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Perspectives of Chinese researchers on open access and open data

Perspectives of Chinese researchers on open access and open data

It is Open Access Week! The scientific community is steadily moving toward open science. Thus, apart from open data mandates driven by governments, even publishers are joining this “open” trend. For instance, PLOS announced a new data policy on February 2014, in which authors who submit their paper to PLOS have to make the supplementary data available so that it becomes easy for others to understand, validate, or replicate the work.

China, being the country with the second largest research output globally, forms an important part of this trend. Would it not be interesting to know how Chinese researchers perceive open data and the OA movement? Last week, Editage Insights initiated a discussion on open data on DXY, the largest online portal for physicians and biomedicine researchers in China. We invited members on DXY to share their views regarding open data and if they are willing to share their research data. We received many engaging responses on this issue. Here is a curated list of some of the most insightful thoughts of Chinese researchers regarding open access and open data:

Some researchers are in favor of sharing their data for a better future of science 

I am quite willing to share my data. Firstly, I can get peer recognition and I can communicate with the wider community. Secondly, I would be able to see other researchers’ data. I can find some useful information for my research, and have further communication with other researchers.”

I'm in favor of sharing my data if my research can help science progress. But it will be better if authors’ interests are taken care of as well.”

Scientific research should be open, especially the research that uses national funding and patient participation. Government provides funds and patients provide information for medical improvement. Therefore, such research should not be used for career progression…”

Having protective policies is a concern of some researchers who are open to sharing data 

Open access policies should be created but it should be ensured that the basic rights of researchers are protected.”

There should be one central organization that integrates and manages all raw data to ensure the appropriate usage of data and author consent. This can save resources and avoid duplicate investment. The key is building an authorized platform and protecting the author's interest.”

Open data is good for scientific progress. The only thing that needs to be ensured is that researchers' rights are protected when they share data.”

Open data is definitely good, but needs management. It can't be made open without any protective policies. There should be strict management policies and research data should be open to professionals only.”

Some researchers are not in favor of open data as they feel data belongs only to the researcher 

I don't agree with open data. Data is a result of money and effort, and has a lot of economic value. Open data makes all effort have no pay back.”

Disagree; not everyone is kind enough to share their data. If needed, just asking data from researchers in the same field is better than making data open to public.”

Disagree; it's my personal result; I can't let others get it free of cost.”

Many researchers agree that the scientific community should embrace the open science culture 

In the era of big data, open data is a must. How to protect open data is the issue we should be concerned about.”

This is an era of scientific progress. Open data is a must.”

The open data movement is unstoppable. What is important is focusing on the problems that may occur during the process of making data open, such as how to ensure data authority and validity, how to protect data owner's rights, copyrights, etc.”

Though the views of Chinese researchers on OA are diverse, their main concerns are:

  • The need for stringent policies to ensure that data is not misused.
  • Authors (data owners) should know who would be using their data.
  • Intellectual property rights should be well protected.
  • There should a one central authority to monitor and manage data.

Do you have the same concerns as these researchers? Are you willing to share your research data? You are welcome to share your opinions in the comments section below!

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