Norms in Academic Publishing are Changing

Gary King in PSOnline:

A decade ago this journal published a symposium on replication policies in political science. The symposium began with an article I wrote entitled “Replication, Replication,” and was followed by opposing and supporting comments by 19 others (King, 1995). The debate over proper policies continued for a few years in subsequent issues of the journal and a variety of other public fora. Since then, many journals in political science have adopted some form of a data sharing or replication policy. Some strongly recommend or expect data sharing and some require it as a condition of publication. The editors of the major international relations journals have collectively written and committed themselves to a strong standard minimum replication policy (Gleditsch et al. 2003). Most important, numerous individual scholars now regularly share their data, produce replication data sets, put these data sets on their web sites, send them to the ICPSR and other archives, or distribute them on request to other scholars. Scholars sometimes worry about being “scooped,” about maintaining the confidentiality of their respondents, or about being proven wrong, but since authors who make their data available are more than twice as cited and influential as those who do not (Gleditsch, Metelits, and Strand 2003), the strong trend toward data sharing in the discipline should not come as a surprise.

The broader scientific community both collectively and in many other individual fields is also moving strongly in the direction of participating in or requiring some form of data sharing. Recipients of grants from the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health now are required to make data available to other scholars upon publication or within a year of the termination of their grant. Replicating, and thus collectively and publicly validating, the integrity of our published work is often still more difficult than it should be, and some still oppose thewhole idea, but our discipline has made substantial progress.