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Reuse of scientific data in academic publications: An investigation of Dryad Digital Repository

Lin He (Department of Information Science, Nanjing Agricultural University, Nanjing, China)
Vinita Nahar (Research Group in Computational Linguistics, University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton, UK)

Aslib Journal of Information Management

ISSN: 2050-3806

Article publication date: 18 July 2016




In recent years, a large number of data repositories have been built and used. However, the extent to which scientific data are re-used in academic publications is still unknown. The purpose of this paper is to explore the functions of re-used scientific data in scholarly publication in different fields.


To address these questions, the authors identified 827 publications citing resources in the Dryad Digital Repository indexed by Scopus from 2010 to 2015.


The results show that: the number of citations to scientific data increases sharply over the years, but mainly from data-intensive disciplines, such as agricultural, biology science, environment science and medicine; the majority of citations are from the originating articles; and researchers tend to reuse data produced by their own research groups.

Research limitations/implications

Dryad data may be re-used without being formally cited.


The conservatism in data sharing suggests that more should be done to encourage researchers to re-use other’s data.



The authors express their greatest gratitude to Mike Thelwall, Professor in School of Mathematics and Computer Science, University of Wolverhampton, UK for his constructive feedback and valuable suggestions. He provided ongoing encouragement and guidance throughout this study that substantially shaped the intellectual direction of this paper.

This paper is supported by the grant of Chinese National Social Science on organization and application of scientific data in the knowledge service environment (No. 13CTQ035) and evaluation research of scientific influence based on altermetrics method (No. 15BTQ061).


He, L. and Nahar, V. (2016), "Reuse of scientific data in academic publications: An investigation of Dryad Digital Repository", Aslib Journal of Information Management, Vol. 68 No. 4, pp. 478-494.



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