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Open Access Highly Accessed Editorial

Unpublished genomic data–how to share?

Shreeya Nanda* and Maria K Kowalczuk

BMC Genomics 2014, 15:5  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-5

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The interests of data generators should be protected.

Xiaolei Huang   (2014-01-21 09:57)  Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences

Thanks for bringing this case to light. I agree with you that "the ultimate responsibility should lie with the data user".

Although data sharing in genetics and genomics are more popular than other fields such as ecology, there are still many scientists who are not willing to share even paper-related data, and the sharing culture in many biological disciplines is still weak. I and colleagues recently did an international survey on the data sharing situation in biodiversity fields, which indicated a weak culture of sharing data. Our survey also suggested some possible solutions for promoting data sharing. It's important for the data uses and our community to recognize that data producers (no them, no data) attitude and behavior are vital to foster a good sharing culture. We should encourage and respect the data generator's openness by protecting their interests (e.g. data credit, priority in using the data) related to the data.

Actually, even under the CC-BY license, the users should provide attribution to the original authors or data producers, who retain the copyright of the data or paper. As for unpublished data, as you suggested, the best way may be the data users contact the data sharers in advance.

Competing interests

None declared

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