10 Reasons to Share Your Data

This started out as a request to CSIRO for data used in coming to conclusions in the Drought Exceptional Circumstances Report, which spawned a series of posts and some furore when the data were not forthcoming immediately. Kevin Hennessy of CSIRO informs me that the data are now available on the BoM website. Credit is due to Kevin for making this happen, as he had to get the permission of all parties to the report, the Dept of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Bureau of Meteorology and the CSIRO, before the data could be released. I will post the results when I have them. In the meantime, I was reflecting on reasons why people should share data:

1. Greater recognition of your work through increased citations and follow-on research.
2. Multiple copies protect it from accidental erasure.
3. Because many eyes have looked at it, it will be of higher quality.
4. You receive good press as a result.
5. Economic benefits can accrue.
6. It fulfils obligations, such as a corporate vision of sharing research outcomes.
7. Satisfaction is gained from benefiting the broader community.
8. Supports other areas of your business.
9. Helps to build a community of researchers around a common resource.
10. Independent lines of research based on it might result in the right answer.

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0 thoughts on “10 Reasons to Share Your Data

  1. Another important one is credibility.

    A willingness to be open, transparent, archive data, share methods, and to admit errors builds credibility for the scientist and the organisations he is part of.

    In contrast, obfuscation, obtuseness, failure to respond to serious questions, hiding data, failing to share methods and similar activities all serve to raise questions regarding the credibility, motives and bona fides of those engaging in such practices.

    Unfortunately, Dr Phil Jones, Dr Jim Hansen, Michael Mann, Lonnie Thompson, and recently it appears the CSIRO climate science people, have chosen to vigorously pursue the latter path.

    So it is not surprising that their credibility is coming into question more and more, and fewer and fewer people are believing them.

  2. Another important one is credibility.

    A willingness to be open, transparent, archive data, share methods, and to admit errors builds credibility for the scientist and the organisations he is part of.

    In contrast, obfuscation, obtuseness, failure to respond to serious questions, hiding data, failing to share methods and similar activities all serve to raise questions regarding the credibility, motives and bona fides of those engaging in such practices.

    Unfortunately, Dr Phil Jones, Dr Jim Hansen, Michael Mann, Lonnie Thompson, and recently it appears the CSIRO climate science people, have chosen to vigorously pursue the latter path.

    So it is not surprising that their credibility is coming into question more and more, and fewer and fewer people are believing them.

  3. I should correct my comment re CSIRO since they have now come good with the data. The principle nevertheless remains valid, as I think they have found in recent days.

  4. I should correct my comment re CSIRO since they have now come good with the data. The principle nevertheless remains valid, as I think they have found in recent days.

  5. David, I’ve now done a quick look at their supposed data archive http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/droughtec/download.shtml and it is far from clear that this is anything like an adequate data archive. It may be more like a the sort of limited hang-out that we often see when climate scientists grudgingly release a little bit of data to comply with pressure, but without a commitment to an “open and transparent” process. For example, I did not see any archive of the underlying data, merely the summaries. For example, the article estimates the percentage area affected by drought and gives the 5 percentile series (which is fine as far as it goes and part of a proper archive), but is well short of being an archive that enables one to replicate their result. If this is it, then this is the equivalent of archiving the MBH reconstruction without any of the underlying data and we’ve seen that movie.

    For example, they cite temperature data, directing one to a couple of papers but not to the data. My understanding is that the data itself is not publicly available.

    It would be worthwhile if you can look into this if you get a chance.

  6. David, I’ve now done a quick look at their supposed data archive http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/droughtec/download.shtml and it is far from clear that this is anything like an adequate data archive. It may be more like a the sort of limited hang-out that we often see when climate scientists grudgingly release a little bit of data to comply with pressure, but without a commitment to an “open and transparent” process. For example, I did not see any archive of the underlying data, merely the summaries. For example, the article estimates the percentage area affected by drought and gives the 5 percentile series (which is fine as far as it goes and part of a proper archive), but is well short of being an archive that enables one to replicate their result. If this is it, then this is the equivalent of archiving the MBH reconstruction without any of the underlying data and we’ve seen that movie.

    For example, they cite temperature data, directing one to a couple of papers but not to the data. My understanding is that the data itself is not publicly available.

    It would be worthwhile if you can look into this if you get a chance.

  7. The Sydney Morning Herald has a regular feature every Saturday on Freedm of Information bungle in Australia. They solicit problems from the public, the bungles, and significance. Maybe bringing the CSIRO stonewalling to the newspapers will also get the general public attention as to how the eminent climate scientists are hiding the information from the greater scientific community and real scrutiny by other real scientists other than those who would like to ride the “consensus” bandwagon.

  8. The Sydney Morning Herald has a regular feature every Saturday on Freedm of Information bungle in Australia. They solicit problems from the public, the bungles, and significance. Maybe bringing the CSIRO stonewalling to the newspapers will also get the general public attention as to how the eminent climate scientists are hiding the information from the greater scientific community and real scrutiny by other real scientists other than those who would like to ride the “consensus” bandwagon.

  9. Re # 3, I suspect that the next chapter will be a letter noting that there is a significant investment of professional time to bring out and distribute the data and that the cost to the inquirer will be $$$.

  10. Re # 3, I suspect that the next chapter will be a letter noting that there is a significant investment of professional time to bring out and distribute the data and that the cost to the inquirer will be $$$.

  11. Most important of all it allows someone else to independently verify your work.
    As an example, I needed to develop a test and measure the shape parameter of particles used in manufacturing. This involves imaging a small portion of the particles in 0.5 grams of material out 6 kilograms total. I measured a mean shape parameter to be 1.1453. Do you think I was pleased when someone else measured new samples of the same lot in another lab and came up with ….1.1453 ?
    YaHoo! Four significant places!
    A honest and humble scientist should be honored when someone else cares enough to independently verify his work.

  12. Most important of all it allows someone else to independently verify your work.
    As an example, I needed to develop a test and measure the shape parameter of particles used in manufacturing. This involves imaging a small portion of the particles in 0.5 grams of material out 6 kilograms total. I measured a mean shape parameter to be 1.1453. Do you think I was pleased when someone else measured new samples of the same lot in another lab and came up with ….1.1453 ?
    YaHoo! Four significant places!
    A honest and humble scientist should be honored when someone else cares enough to independently verify his work.

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