Not a single one of those journals explicitly focuses on paleontology. Last time I checked, we paleontologists like to think of ourselves as evolutionary biologists. Time and time again, we lament how we're not allowed a place at "The High Table" of evolutionary thought, and how paleontology is viewed as largely irrelevant by the "people who matter." So why weren't any paleontology publications on this list? Will we see any on the list in the near future?
The article in The American Naturalist gives a good run-down of the arguments for sharing data, so I'll only briefly summarize them here:
- It allows reproducibility of analyses.
- It allows others to build upon your work more easily.
- Papers that release their data may get cited more frequently.
- The data will be lost to science otherwise.
- It's the right thing to do.
- This would only request the release of data directly relevant to the study. Not your pages and pages of raw notes. Just that Excel spreadsheet that you already generated on your way to the analysis. Seriously. It's not a lot of extra work, if any.
- This is not requesting the digitization and distribution of video, CT scan, or similarly large and unwieldy data (although that would be nice in the future).
- No, it does not mandate the release of locality data, or similarly privileged information.
- The policy does not require immediate release of the data, if there's a good reason (i.e., another pending publication) to do so. I'm not sure I entirely support this (if you're publishing the analysis, you should publish the data), but I understand it as a necessary compromise to get more individuals on board. I won't let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
Look. Amateur hour is over. If we want to play in the big leagues, we have to start acting like a real science. Real science is reproducible. Real science is data-driven. Real science involves sharing data. Yes, I know it's hard. It's new. We haven't done things this way before. There are potential problems. Not everyone is adopting it quickly. But if we always wait five years to "see what happens," we paleontologists quite frankly don't deserve a place at the High Table. Let's be leaders, not followers.
Piwowar, H. A., R. S. Day, and D. B. Fridsma. (2007). Sharing detailed research data is associated with increased citation rate. PLoS ONE 2(3):e308, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0000308.
Whitlock, M., McPeek, M., Rausher, M., Rieseberg, L., & Moore, A. (2010). Data archiving. The American Naturalist, 175 (2), 145-146 DOI: 10.1086/650340
For previous posts on data sharing in paleontology, see here and here. Want to get involved? Spread the word. Talk to your local journal editor. Let the people who count know what you think.