Factors influencing the data sharing behavior of researchers in sociology and political science
Article publication date: 6 June 2018
Issue publication date: 3 August 2018
Open data and data sharing should improve transparency of research. The purpose of this paper is to investigate how different institutional and individual factors affect the data sharing behavior of authors of research articles in sociology and political science.
Desktop research analyzed attributes of sociology and political science journals (n=262) from their websites. A second data set of articles (n=1,011; published 2012-2014) was derived from ten of the main journals (five from each discipline) and stated data sharing was examined. A survey of the authors used the Theory of Planned Behavior to examine motivations, behavioral control, and perceived norms for sharing data. Statistical tests (Spearman’s ρ, χ2) examined correlations and associations.
Although many journals have a data policy for their authors (78 percent in sociology, 44 percent in political science), only around half of the empirical articles stated that the data were available, and for only 37 percent of the articles could the data be accessed. Journals with higher impact factors, those with a stated data policy, and younger journals were more likely to offer data availability. Of the authors surveyed, 446 responded (44 percent). Statistical analysis indicated that authors’ attitudes, reported past behavior, social norms, and perceived behavioral control affected their intentions to share data.
Less than 50 percent of the authors contacted provided responses to the survey. Results indicate that data sharing would improve if journals had explicit data sharing policies but authors also need support from other institutions (their universities, funding councils, and professional associations) to improve data management skills and infrastructures.
This paper builds on previous similar research in sociology and political science and explains some of the barriers to data sharing in social sciences by combining journal policies, published articles, and authors’ responses to a survey.
Zenk-Möltgen, W., Akdeniz, E., Katsanidou, A., Naßhoven, V. and Balaban, E. (2018), "Factors influencing the data sharing behavior of researchers in sociology and political science", Journal of Documentation, Vol. 74 No. 5, pp. 1053-1073. https://doi.org/10.1108/JD-09-2017-0126
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