STM reasserts the importance of research data

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The international publishers’ organisation STM has reaffirmed its commitment to promoting and supporting the wider sharing of research data with the establishment of a permanent research data program.

At the 16th Academic Publishing in Europe Conference (APE) held in January, STM’s director of research integrity Joris van Rossum explained how the program will emphasise how research data is crucial to advancing Open Science and research, while highlighting how the improved sharing of data promotes transparency, reproducibility and leads to additional opportunities for scientific discovery and collaboration.

STM highlighted how publishers connect researchers, their research and the wider world and how they innovate to add value into an increasingly digital and interconnected environment. In doing so, they have created vital data infrastructure and founded programmes that assist researchers to share, cite, and link their data with all forms of research output. The continued development of these initiatives will play a vital role in making science more transparent and improving the reproducibility of research as well as having the potential to be a driving force for scientific discovery, he said.

The establishment of STM’s new research data program follows a yearlong ‘Research Data Year’ in 2020 which saw STM working alongside publishers and partners to boost the effective sharing of research data. Over the course of 12 months the programme tracked that the average number of journals with data policies across participating publishers went up 80 per cent (from 29 per cent to 52 per cent) while the number of articles that contained data availability statements (DASs) more than doubled, from 7 per cent to 15 per cent. 

STM says it is aiming to continue to build on these foundations over 2021 and beyond by exploring how research data sharing can positively impact the wider scholarly ecosystem – from funders and research institutes to data repositories, data services and wider international collaborations (such as the European Open Science Cloud). STM’s new research data function will also seek to advance progress on artificial intelligence and how data can be made ‘AI-ready’ as well as widening support for both open science and FAIR data principles.

Speaking of the establishment of the new research data division Ian Moss, STM’s CEO, said: ‘Publishers have held a long-standing commitment to sharing data and STM is continually expanding our efforts to ensure that the wider sharing of research data, the adoption of leading-edge tools and increasing transparency continues. 

‘I am delighted that Joris will be heading up our new research data program and leading the further development of community standards and principles around which the wider sharing of research data can be best achieved.’