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Data Sharing in Biomedical Sciences: A Systematic Review of Incentives

The scientific productivity evaluation by academic institutions and funders has been heavily raising questions about the mechanisms’ adequacy to reward data generation and sharing. This study provides a systematic review of such mechanisms for biomedical sciences researchers to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses. To this aim, PubMed, Web of Science, and Google Scholar were queried for original research articles, editorials, and opinion articles on incentives for data sharing. Data publication, citation, and altmetrics have been proposed as alternative routes to credit data generators, which could address concerns over the ability of secondary analysts to contest the proposed research methods. Their primary downsides are that: they are not well-established, it is difficult to acquire evidence to support their implementation, and they could give rise to novel forms of research misconduct. In conclusion, alternative recognition mechanisms need to be more commonly used to generate evidence on their power on data sharing. Policy documents tackle such discussions on alternative crediting systems to work toward Open Science, showing an interest in elaborating metascience programs. The full text is available here