In 2018, Taylor & Francis released a suite of data sharing policies. Recognizing the variances in readiness to adopt data sharing within different fields and different regions, the data policy suite offers a range of five policies that extend from encouraging authors to share and cite data, to two levels of sharing data to making data open under a CC-BY, CC0 or equivalent license in full compliance with the FAIR principles.
The Basic Data Sharing Policy was rolled out to all titles owned by Taylor & Francis as well as a number of society titles after agreement with the society and editor, and by the end of 2018 this amounted to more than 1600 titles. The Basic Policy encourages authors to deposit their data in a recognized data repository such as Figshare, to cite the data and to provide a Data Availability Statement describing where and under what conditions the data can be accessed. All titles published by Taylor & Francis now provide for data citation and linking to associated data sets.
Like other large publishing houses, Taylor & Francis recognized the need to introduce data policies in light of funder mandates, calls for improved transparency and reproducibility of data, and extraction of new knowledge. Adopting the basic policy allows editors, authors and societies to begin familiarizing themselves with the practice of data sharing, while those editors and societies, for example within Earth Sciences, who are positioned to adopt more progressive approaches to data sharing are able to do so.
“Given the breadth of subject areas we work with, it was important to recognize that data sharing is not binary - data is not simply open or closed,” said Caroline Sutton, Director of Editorial Development. “There are degrees of open. By structuring our policies along a continuum of openness and compliance with FAIR principles, we hope this makes it possible for researchers to be as open as possible with their research data in relation to their circumstances.”
Encouraging authors to deposit first to a suitable subject repository, T&F also provide guidance on general repositories, including Figshare.
Authors submitting to a journal with a data policy are supported with information on relevant data repositories and guidance for the process of sharing that data with this infographic.
To date, feedback on the policy suite has been largely positive, even if some concerns have been raised in relation to data sharing in general. “Some researchers have argued, for example, that our policies and those of other publishers are based on a positivist view of science whereby one is seeking to uncover causality, which is not always the aim of social science research,” said Caroline. “For other scholars there has been a question of what is meant by data at all; how does an art historian - whose work entails interpreting pre-existing artefacts that he or she has no ownership over - share data?”
Alongside continued advocacy work and outreach, an important activity on the 2019 roadmap for data sharing policy implementation is to work with editors and societies to move as many journals as possible to more progressive policies. Equally important is engagement in initiatives across stakeholder groups and in cooperation with other publishing houses to further develop overarching infrastructures to support data sharing, including linking data sets deposited with Figshare to the corresponding article in a Taylor & Francis journal.
More information on T&F’s data policy can be found on the author services area of their website.