Friday, May 9, 2008

AGU data position statement - YACOA

In the recent volume of EOS (Vol 89(16)), AGU invites for comments on its data position statement which earliest version dates back to 1997. Needless to say that such statements are a good thing and many other organisations have also provided their statements on open access to scientific information.

However, I found it strange to read the new draft without finding a comment on the role of the societies themselves.
Those who work in scientific data management know how difficult it is to motivate researchers to submit their data to archives. Submitting data to data centers is voluntary for researchers. To my knowledge, there is no funding agency which obliges researchers to submit their primary data to data archives nor is there a publisher of geo-journals which asks for links to archived primary data on which the results of an article are based on.

Now, AGU is the publisher of about 20 high impact journals and it is astonishing but true that AGU publishing
itself does not provide a real data policy which for example cares about primary data! This is strange, and I really think AGU should consider its own responsibility and its potential to act as exemplar when calling for data policies.
Without an own true data policy which includes clear guidelines and rules for data handling within the responsibility of AGU such statement is a paper tiger, a YACOA: yet another call for open access.

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