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The Science of the Collection and Publishing of Data

August 6, 2013
Observations on managing the research team during the collection of data.   I posted this on a blog by Peter Murray-Rust, a chemist, who writes on the value and methods of keeping knowledge open.  It is in a discussion on Publishing Data in scientific Journals.  David R. Van Houten

Thank you for the important blog article and comments. Publishing original data can be beneficial in many ways, all of which are probably not possible to predict at the time of publication. Having a record of original data gives insight into contemporary methodologies and knowledge that the full text paper may not reveal.

To add an observation, from one in biomedical research, on improving scientific integrity at an earlier in the scientific process, as data is being collected. I think research leaders in all disciplines should recognize the fundamental importance of weekly (at least) meetings of the research team with the Principal Investigator. During these meetings all staff, new scientists in training, & those with more experience, can learn from the regular review and discussion of the benchmarks of data collection & management.

The absence of these weekly meetings was, I believe, the single biggest factor allowing for the data fabrication and falsification that I observed 20 years ago as a PhD student. I pushed to get these meetings organized, and when they did occur, it made it easier to get the offender to stop and easier to “salvage” original data. I bring this up because it is one of the important “environmental” components that have been overlooked in the review and investigations of scientific misconduct as the RCR field has developed over the last 25 years.

Thank you to those in the informatics and publishing field for your work in making original data available along with the authors publication.

That’s this reader’s two cents/two pence.

  • pm286 says:

    Good points – and certainly possible – in principle – to build data management into much PhD supervision. We do this in software with code review meetings.

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