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Universities Must Encourage Researchers to Share Data, Panel Says

A panel of experts convened by the publishing giant Thomson Reuters recommends that researchers, universities, and publishers come up with ways to make a researcher’s data available to other scholars even if the researcher doesn’t have a journal article ready for publication.

The panel was assembled to look at “the obstacles to unlocking the value” of the vast quantities of data that cascade out of faculty labs and offices every year, a trove that is projected to grow to the “unfathomable” amount of more than 35 trillion gigabytes of information by 2020, according to a report on the panel’s discussion.

Members of the panel worried that higher education “does not yet recognize or reward researchers for sharing their data,” according to one participant, Alex Wade, director of scholarly communication for Microsoft.

The panel recommends the creation and widespread acceptance of “community standards around the sharing and reuse of research data.” It also says that copyright issues need to be resolved, and that journal publishers need to prepare themselves to play roles different from the one they play now.

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