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PLOS’ New Data Policy

April 25th, 2014, by Steve Tronick

Enabling others to verify experimental findings through data sharing and resource provision helps to enhance scientific research worldwide, and one recent advance to this end comes from a recent proposal by the journal PLOS ONE (; eISSN-1932-6203), an international, peer-reviewed, open-access, online publication hosting reports of original research from all science and medicine disciplines. PLOS journals’ new data policy (, first announced in December 2013 ( is as follows:

"Access to research results, immediately and without restriction, has always been at the heart of PLOS’ mission and the wider Open Access movement. However, without similar access to the data underlying the findings, the article can be of limited use. For this reason, PLOS has always required that authors make their data available to other academic researchers who wish to replicate, reanalyze, or build upon the findings published in our journals.

We are now revising our data-sharing policy for all PLOS journals: authors must make all data publicly available, without restriction, immediately upon publication of the article. Beginning March 3rd, 2014, all authors who submit to a PLOS journal will be asked to provide a "Data Availability Statement", describing where and how others can access each dataset that underlies the findings."

(PLOS’ New Data Policy)

It will be interesting to follow the number of submissions to PLOS journals and will likely take years to determine the policy’s effects, if any. One potential immediate outcome of the policy may be the creation of a new statistical discipline that evaluates journal data policies versus impact factor. Similarly, this newly accessible data may be used to discover published findings that are incorrect.