Springer Nature partners with the Breast Cancer Research Foundation to improve data sharing

Authors publishing in open access journal npj Breast Cancer to receive support from dedicated Research Data Editor

© Breast Cancer Research Foundation

A new pilot project by Springer Nature and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) enables researchers to make their research datasets accessible alongside their published articles.

From February 2019, all authors whose manuscripts are accepted for publication by npj Breast Cancer will be reviewed by a Research Data Editor who is responsible for cataloguing, describing and sharing the datasets that accompany the research paper.

The dedicated editors, who work as part of Springer Nature’s Research Data Support services team, will help authors draft detailed descriptions of the datasets supporting their articles and deposit datasets in a newly-created journal data repository. The editors also give advice on de-identifying data about human research participants, and help authors write detailed data availability statements.

This pilot project is expected to run for the majority of 2019 and is part of an ongoing collaboration between Springer Nature and BCRF to promote robust, long-term access to research data. Other initiatives to further this goal include Springer Nature-led training workshops for BCRF grantees to encourage good data practice. Attendees of such a workshop in October 2018 said that they would be much more likely to share their data after having received this professional training*.

Writing in the journal this week, Larry Norton, BCRF Co-Scientific Director and npj Breast Cancer’s Editor-in-Chief said: “The provision of this service for all of our authors is in part a response to the calls for broader data sharing that have been gathering pace in the cancer research community.“

Margaret Flowers, Director, Scientific Communications and Grants, BCRF, said: “As part of our commitment to drive advances in cancer research, we want to encourage our BCRF-funded researchers and other investigators to share their data with the wider research community, and to enable others to build on the findings and knowledge gained from our funded projects. BCRF’s collaboration with Springer Nature enables us to provide the practical support and professional development to researchers that we think is essential.”

Grace Baynes, Vice-President, Research Data & New Product Development at Springer Nature, said: “Not all oncology research data can be made openly available, but it can all be made easier to find and access. Funder and journal policies are key to supporting data sharing, but to be successful they must be coupled with practical support and information for researchers. Thanks to BCRF’s support, npj Breast Cancer is now setting the standard for oncology journals, and we look forward to learning a lot through this pilot.”

* The training course content included the context for data sharing, interpreting data policies, drafting data management plans, finding repositories and storing research data. In a survey, workshop attendees rated the training as excellent, and attendees strongly agreed that they would be more likely to share data having received the professional training.


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