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Two Competing Visions for Research Data Sharing

As the research world gets more crowded, data preservation and sharing are getting harder

In recent years, mechanisms for sharing and preserving research data have grown considerably. But the landscape is crowded with a number of divergent models for data sharing. And because these divergent approaches to research data sharing are poorly distinguished in much of the discourse, it can be a confusing landscape. Some are driven by the needs of science, some by business strategy. Today, I propose that two fundamentally competing visions are emerging for sharing research data. 

The publications vision
One vision is highly publisher-centric. It involves efforts to connect datasets to the publications with which they are connected. The publications vision can take several forms. First, it is mandated by many funders and publishers, sometimes out of an interest in reproducibility. Second, it is being developed by publishers with a strategic view of how the publication system is evolving. 

Research funders have a substantial interest in data sharing. Ensuring the reproducibility and replicability of published results is a vital priority, one that clearly deserves greater attention and investment. Building in some cases on what they perceive to have been their successes in driving the open access movement through deposit mandates, several major funders have been initiating data deposit mandates.

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