Grants

Harvard University

To help social science journals process and publish the data associated with research articles

  • Amount $1,058,994
  • City Cambridge, MA
  • Investigator Gary King
  • Year 2012
  • Program Digital Technology
  • Sub-program Scholarly Communication

According to a 2011 survey by Philip Glandon, only 35 percent of the 20 most cited journals in the field of economics have policies requiring as a condition of publication that authors make the data they use in their papers available to others. This is worrying, since empirical research requires quality control and lots of checking. Without access to the primary data a researcher works with, the larger economic community is unable to replicate her results, evaluate her faithfulness to her methodology, or re-use her data for other projects. What's worse, compliance is spotty even at those journals that do require authors post their research data, with fewer than half of all authors publishing the required datafiles. And when authors do make their data available, the files they post are often useless, since there are no discipline-wide standards governing what should be posted, what metadata should be included, or how programming code, procedural records, or explanations should appear. Funds from this grant support a project by Peter King to develop a software platform that has the potential to ameliorate some of these difficulties. King has developed the DataVerse Network, a platform specifically for publishing, sharing, referencing and analyzing social science datasets. With Sloan support, King will create a pilot platform that will allow participating journal editors to use the DataVerse Network in their article evaluation process, giving authors a uniform, standards-based capacity to upload and store research data, which can then be used both by editors and reviewers as an article moves through the publication process, and which will subsequently be available to the wider scientific community post-publication. The project represents a promising avenue in which information technology may help transform for the better scholarly communication.

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