10 Sports Science Data Things: Thing 5

Thing 5: What are funders and publishers saying about data?

Data sharing policies are becoming increasingly common in Australia and internationally.  Learn why research funders and journal publishers are particularly influential when it comes to encouraging data availability.

Data journals

Explore this relatively new form of data publishing: the data journal. Data journals focus on data, rather than discuss an analysis of the data (as in traditional journals).

Read the following short introduction to data journals::

2. Browse the following data paper published in the data journal Scientific Data. 

a. Note the extensive exposure of the data through maps, links to full tables, and diagrams etc. and how to cite this article.

Consider: Why do you think authors might choose to share their data in data journals rather than, or in addition to, traditional journal formats?

Learn about journal data policies

More and more journal publishers are asking authors to make the data underpinning a journal article available. It’s all about ensuring that the research being described in the article is based on solid, reproducible science. Thinking back to Thing 4: Collaboration & Sharing, remember that “available” can be “open” or “shared” through mediated access.

Some journals require all the research data underlying a journal article to be made available with no or minimal restrictions e.g. PLOS ONE and Nature. A Springer Nature blog post on journal data policy stated the following:

“These easy-to-understand policies encourage the publication of more open and reproducible research, and aim to increase growth and innovation in research and data sharing.“

The International Committee Medical Journals Editors (ICMJE) released a statement saying, that from 1 July 2018, any manuscripts submitted to ICMJE journals that report the results of clinical trials must contain a data sharing statement. And from 1 July 2019 any clinical trials must include a data sharing plan in the trial's registration.

Sport science journal data policies

Two exciting things are happening with data and journal publishers. More and more journal publishers are asking authors to make the data underpinning a journal article available. And, new forms of data publishing are emerging: data journals.

Data Friendly Policies Data Silent Policies
A data-friendly policy is one which requires or encourages description and attaching of data, or a statement about providing access to data underlying journal results. A data-silent journal is one which makes little mention or requirement to make data available upon request, nor encourages the lodgment of data into a repository for reuse.

Sports Science Journals:

Sports Science Journals:

  • American Journal of Sports Medicine
  • Exercise Immunology Review
  • Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery - Series A
  • Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise
  • Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
  • Journal of Athletic Training


Other discipline journals
  • PLOS One (e.g. life science; social sciences; neuroscience; physical science; etc.)

Examples of some data friendly policies:

British Journal of Sports Medicine data policy includes:

We encourage authors to include a data sharing statement when submitting their article, explaining:
What additional unpublished data from the study—if any—are available
Who can access the data
How to obtain the data

The data policy for Sports Medicine includes (Click: Instructions for Authors: Research Data Policy):

A submission to the journal implies that materials described in the manuscript, including all relevant raw data, will be freely available to any researcher wishing to use them for non-commercial purposes, without breaching participant confidentiality.

BMC Public Health data policy states:

Data sharing encouraged and statements of data availability required

Activity 1: What is your favourite sports science journal? Do you know what their data policy is?

Look up your favourite sports science journal and see what the advice the journal gives on related data.

Send your findings to the Research Services Librarian (cameron.barrie@vu.edu.au). Cameron can add your findings to the List of Data Policies - Sports Science Journals.

Consider: How easy, or hard, it was for you to understand what you had to do in regard to research data? If you have questions, contact the VU Library for assistance (cameron.barrie@vu.edu.au).

Open Access & data sharing policies of funders

Both of Australia's largest research funders, the Australian Research Council (ARC) and the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), now have open access policies in place. These policies are designed to bring publicly-funded Australian research to a worldwide audience. If your research is funded by either of these bodies, these changes will have a significant impact on you and your research.

1. Take a look at the Australian Research Council (ARC) requirements on research data management:

Research Data Management

The ARC is committed to maximising the benefits from ARC-funded research, including by ensuring greater access to research data. Since 2007, the ARC has encouraged researchers to deposit data arising from research projects in publicly accessible repositories.

ARC Open Access Policy

2. Check the ANDS Guide to filling in the data management section in ARC grant applications. What are some of the tips they provide regarding enabling others to reuse your data? Consider what level of access you will provide to your research data.

ANDS Guide to filling in the data management section in ARC grant applications

3. Take a look at the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) requirements on research data management:

NHMRC Open Access Policy

Read page 4 - this states:

"NHMRC now strongly encourages researchers to take reasonable steps to share research data and associated metadata arising from NHMRC supported research.”

Consider the implications for managing your data if the NHMRC did make it compulsory to share the research data associated with one of their grants. What steps would you need to take to prepare for this?

International collaborations are increasingly common in our ever-connected world. Researchers in Australia are involved in projects funded by overseas bodies which are now mandating researchers to make their research data publicly accessible. The landscape is complex and implications of policies for researchers can be unclear.

4. Take a look at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in the US and review their requirements for open access data. Also look at the FAQs - Underlying Data Guidelines for more information.

5. Explore the Data Sharing Policy of the US National Science Foundation

6. Compare the policies in the US (above) to some of the big UK funders such as the Wellcome Trust or Medical Research Council