Standardising and Harmonising Research Data Policy in Scholarly Publishing
To address the complexities researchers face during publication, and the potential community-wide benefits of wider adoption of clear data policies, the publisher Springer Nature has developed a standardised, common framework for the research data policies of all its journals. An expert working group was convened to audit and identify common features of research data policies of the journals published by Springer Nature, where policies were present. The group then consulted with approximately 30 editors, covering all research disciplines within the organisation. The group also consulted with academic editors, librarians and funders, which informed development of the framework and the creation of supporting resources. Four types of data policy were defined in recognition that some journals and research communities are more ready than others to adopt strong data policies. As of January 2017 more than 700 journals have adopted a standard policy and this number is growing weekly. To potentially enable standardisation and harmonisation of data policy across funders, institutions, repositories, societies and other publishers, the policy framework was made available under a Creative Commons license. However, the framework requires wider debate with these stakeholders and an Interest Group within the Research Data Alliance (RDA) has been formed to initiate this process.
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