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Today the Public Library of Science (PLOS) revised its already-strong data policy. As of March 3, 2014, authors in all PLOS journals will be required to provide a Data Availability Statement. Additionally, all underlying data must be publicly available in 1 of 3 places: the body of the manuscript, in the supporting information, or in a stable, public repository which provides an accession number of Digital Object Identifier (DOI). Kudos to PLOS for furthering public access to research data in the “pursuit of scientific advances.”
Access to research results, immediately and without restriction, has always been at the heart of PLOS’ mission and the wider Open Access movement. However, without similar access to the data underlying the findings, the article can be of limited use. For this reason, PLOS has always required that authors make their data available to other academic researchers who wish to replicate, reanalyze, or build upon the findings published in our journals.
In an effort to increase access to this data, we are now revising our data-sharing policy for all PLOS journals: authors must make all data publicly available, without restriction, immediately upon publication of the article. Beginning March 3rd, 2014, all authors who submit to a PLOS journal will be asked to provide a Data Availability Statement, describing where and how others can access each dataset that underlies the findings. This Data Availability Statement will be published on the first page of each article.