For many people, the one artifact of the research process they see might be the polished article published in a journal. But it is built on a foundation of great quantities of evidence – the underlying research data. As a health sciences publisher, we recognize the importance of this data and making it discoverable and accessible whenever possible – one of the reasons we appreciate initiatives such as International Love Data Week.
Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Cupid’s arrow is loaded with a different kind of love – for data. International Love Data Week runs from 13-17 February, and the theme for 2023 – the year the US government has called “The Year of Open Science” – is one we couldn’t support more: “Data: Agent of Change.”
The calls from research libraries, funders and others in the community to make research data openly accessible and usable have intensified, particulary as the Covid-19 pandemic illustrated all too clearly how crucial the Open Data facet of Open Science can be. And in another major signal, the US Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) now requires data resulting from federally funded research to be made openly available. Open Data can benefit everyone by increasing the reproducibility and transparency of research, which enhances trust in science and allows others to keep building on it. And for authors and institutions specifically, research with open data sets can gain more visibility and allow researchers to comply with mandates.
For a primer on Open Data, check out our infographic.
Actions we have taken at Karger to move this forward include requiring Data Availability Statements with submitted articles and helping authors to understand the hows and whys of sharing their research data. And this is just one facet of our endeavors to be an agent of change – not just with data, but with Open Science and much more.
Publishing methods articles in nearly all our journals is another way we’re making science more accessible, transparent and reproducible. These articles describe methods or protocols used to perform an experiment or carry out a research plan, generally in much greater detail than a methods section in an article. Importantly, they help increase trust in research and the ability for others to build on it. While we have long supported the publication of methods articles, we recently have formally welcomed this type of article across nearly all our journals. We also support the use of preprints.
And in the field of Open Access, the past three years have seen us sign Transformative Agreements with institutions all over the world. They cover not only journal access but also Open Access publishing, helping more subscription journals transition to Open Access. We have also flipped 15 journals to Open Access, established 11 Transformative Journals and we’re piloting two journals under the new Open Access business model Subscribe to Open.
In so many ways, we have been mindfully working toward change, and we warmly welcome initiatives such as Love Data Week and the many ‘agents of change’ in Open Science around the world.
What do you think are the changes most needed in health sciences? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments. We would also be happy to answer your questions about Karger, Open Data and Open Science at firstname.lastname@example.org, and invite you to explore our Open Science and Open Access web pages.