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Do journal data sharing mandates work? Life sciences evidence from Dryad

Mike Thelwall (School of Mathematics and Computing, University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton, UK)
Kayvan Kousha (Statistical Cybermetrics Research Group, University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton, UK)

Aslib Journal of Information Management

ISSN: 2050-3806

Article publication date: 16 January 2017




Data sharing is widely thought to help research quality and efficiency. Data sharing mandates are increasingly being adopted by journals and the purpose of this paper is to assess whether they work.


This study examines two evolutionary biology journals, Evolution and Heredity, that have data sharing mandates and make extensive use of Dryad. It uses a quantitative analysis of presence in Dryad, downloads and citations.


Within both journals, data sharing seems to be complete, showing that the mandates work on a technical level. Low correlations (0.15-0.18) between data downloads and article citation counts for articles published in 2012 within these journals indicate a weak relationship between data sharing and research impact. An average of 40-55 data downloads per article after a few years suggests that some use is found for shared life sciences data.

Research limitations/implications

The value of shared data uses is unclear.

Practical implications

Data sharing mandates should be encouraged as an effective strategy.


This is the first analysis of the effectiveness of data sharing mandates.



Thelwall, M. and Kousha, K. (2017), "Do journal data sharing mandates work? Life sciences evidence from Dryad", Aslib Journal of Information Management, Vol. 69 No. 1, pp. 36-45.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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