How and Why We’re Making Research Data More Open

November 7, 2018 Chris Graf

Research Map.png

Here at Wiley we believe that open research and open science, if it can be made possible in practice, will facilitate faster and more effective research discovery. Our data sharing team (the members of which are listed at the bottom of this post) has recently updated our data sharing and citation policies to reflect this commitment.


Here we walk through each of the four policy levels, from an entry-level policy, via a policy that expects data, to an advanced-level policy, and onwards to a policy for “remarkable” practice (there’s no other word for it). We share examples of journals working closely with researchers to share data, in ways that suit those researchers. We map the new Wiley policies to Levels 1, 2, and 3 from the Center for Open Science Transparency Openness Promotion (TOP) guidelines,which Wiley endorses. Finally, we introduce goals for implementation and note the arrival of our Expects Data Toolkit for Wiley journal editors.


If you’re an author or editor, please share your feedback on our policy changes (in the comments below). It’s important that we work together to get it right.


“Encourages data sharing” is our entry-level policy, and does not change materially


The majority of Wiley journals adopted this policy when we launched our data sharing and citation policies a little over a year ago. “Encourages” is not a particularly robust policy, if what you want to achieve is data sharing: Everything about it is optional (data availability statements, data sharing, and peer review). But “encourages” is a good starting point, a stepping stone. It enables journals serving researchers in communities where data sharing is not common to start their journey towards data sharing.


“Expects data sharing” is our intermediate-level policy, and has changed materially


Our friends at Center for Open Science shared with us that, despite our best intentions, the words we chose to express our old “encourages” and “expects” policies did not create clear space between the two policies. Now journals that adopt our new “expects data sharing” policy mandate a data availability statement in every published article. However, it’s important to clarify that “expects” does not require researchers to share data.  Instead it requires in every article a statement to confirm presence or absence of shared data. “Expects” is written to be ideal for many Wiley journals and, for example, the British Journal of Social Psychology published by Wiley for the British Psychological Society is adopting an “expects” policy. It is equivalent to TOP Level 1.


“Mandates data sharing” is our advanced-level policy, and does not change materially


This policy is self-explanatory. Journals that mandate data sharing require as a condition of acceptance that data associated with journal articles are shared. Researchers can share data before submission or, alternatively, after peer review but before publication. This policy option works well when data sharing is the norm within a research community. Ecology and Evolution is among the handful of Wiley journals that take this approach. Have a look at Tim Vines’ study of the impact of adopting a strict data policy across 12 ecology and evolutionary biology journals, if you want some further reading. “Mandates” is equivalent to TOP Level 2.


“Mandates data sharing and peer reviews data” is a new policy at Wiley


Journals that adopt “mandates and reviews” policies represent the top-end of data sharing practices by researchers and research journals. But what does peer review mean when it comes to data? Depending on the journal, data peer review may evaluate the quality of the data by ensuring that the results in the paper and the data in the repository align (for example, sample sizes and variables match). Geoscience Data Journal takes this approach. Or data peer review may evaluate the replicability of the data to ensure that the claims presented in the journal article are valid and can be reproduced. American Journal of Political Science, published by Wiley for the Midwest Political Science Association, takes this approach. This new “mandates and reviews” policy option enables us to showcase remarkable practice by researchers who choose to publish their work with Wiley, and similarly remarkable practice from the journals that we publish. It is equivalent to TOP Level 3.


For all policy levels, data citation is emphasized. Data citation is not new to Wiley policies. EMBO Press, one of Wiley’s publishing partners, has introduced data citation into reference lists. But the emphasis in the Wiley policies is new, and is in-line with industry standards and initiatives to recognize data as a primary research object. We endorse the FORCE11 Data Citation Principles.


Policy is nothing without implementation


We know that careful implementation of policy is key to its success. Our plans include a campaign to implement “expects data sharing” at hundreds of journals in the coming months, and we have an “Expects Data Toolkit” to help. Implementation of “expects” will require data availability statements, and data citations where data has been shared, to be included in every article. This will mean small but important changes across the author experience at Wiley, so we’ll need to be sensitive to that.


Looking further ahead we intend to measure “expects data” policy implementation, and to measure publication of data availability statements and data citations. With this information, we’ll be able to celebrate adoption of new practices by the research communities we work with and serve, and we’ll be able to showcase researchers from those communities leading in open research.


To close, we have a final message for Wiley journal editors, and for researchers who submit their work to Wiley journals.



For Wiley editors, we have an Expects Data Toolkit to help you adopt our “expects” policy. Please speak with your publisher so together we can help researchers in your communities share more research data.



And if you’re a researcher and have thoughts about these policy options, then please make your voice heard in the comments below. Adopting new practices needs good communication and collaboration between all parties, so please, let us know your thoughts. Thank you!


Wiley’s Data Sharing Team

Our team and the people who helped design the new policy include: Erin Arndt (Associate Director, Editorial System), Elizabeth Moylan (Publisher), Kate Perry (Product Manager), Kathryn Sharples (Director, Editorial Development), Terri Teleen (Director, Editorial Operations & Communications), Natasha White (Director, Open Access Product Marketing), as well as the author of this post, Chris Graf (Director, Research Integrity and Publishing Ethics). Thank you all!


Figure: Data visualization: Locals and Tourists #3 (GTWA #4): San Francisco by Eric Fischer  via Flickr

About the Author

Chris Graf

Director, Research Integrity and Publishing Ethics // Researcher behaviour and research publishing are changing fast. The integrity of what we peer review and publish together has never been more important. Research publishers need editorial processes and an editorial focus on quality that fits the research environment we work in, and that fits what our communities expect of us. My job is to lead those efforts at Wiley, with a focus on integrity and ethics. I also volunteer and am elected as Co-Chair at COPE (Committee on Publication Ethics) for 2-year term.

More Content by Chris Graf
Previous Article
Breaking Down Barriers to Research Participation
Breaking Down Barriers to Research Participation

Wiley's Joe Walsh takes a look at how the Research4Life program has helped break down barriers to participa...

Next Article
Transitioning to OA: One Editor’s Perspective
Transitioning to OA: One Editor’s Perspective

Celine Carret, Editor of EMBO Molecular Medicine, shares her perspective on transitioning a journal to open...