A number of publishers and funders, including PLOS, have recently adopted policies requiring researchers to share the data underlying their results and publications. Such policies help increase the reproducibility of the published literature, as well as make a larger body of data available for reuse and re-analysis. In this study, we evaluate the extent to which authors have complied with this policy by analyzing Data Availability Statements from 47,593 papers published in PLOS ONE between March 2014 (when the policy went into effect) and May 2016. Our analysis shows that:
- Compliance with the policy has increased, with a significant decline over time in papers that did not include a Data Availability Statement.
- Only about 20% of statements indicate that data are deposited in a repository, which the PLOS policy states is the preferred method.
- More commonly, authors state that their data are in the paper itself or in the supplemental information, though it is unclear whether these data meet the level of sharing required in the PLOS policy.
These findings suggest that additional review of Data Availability Statements or more stringent policies may be needed to increase data sharing.
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