I would like to open discussion on the data sharing policy and principles. While this is a topic that matters for the entire iBOL and BIOSCAN, I believe each nation also should have a clear strategy on that. I had some discussion on that topic with Donald, and we decided to continue discussions here. I would be grateful for active discussion by all of you.
In Finland, we have decided to make ALL barcode data, including sequences and metadata, public almost immediately. A short embargo will be applied to validate the data correctness after the sequences are available in BOLD, but after this step, the data will be made public regardless of their publication status (in scientific connections). In Finland, barcoding is financially supported by the governmental funders (presently Academy of Finland) that means that we use tax payers’ money to generate barcodes. Data generated by public money also should me made available to the public and not kept private by researhers for a long time.
This principle may of course result in a situation which an individual researcher may find undesirable as the data (perhaps based on specimens collected by her/him) is made available for the other researcher before it is published in a scientific connection. However, I find this risk, especially what comes to the taxonomic research, rather small. I like that we should recognize the importance of broad accessability of data as indicated by the point 4 of BIOSCAN Strategic plan that states:
“Ensure that data in BOLD and mBRAVE are to the fullest extent possible, well documented and accessible under open licenses and following the FAIR principles: Follow best practice internationally for accessibility and reuse of BIOSCAN data.”
If I understood it correctly, also the FAIR principles are helpful in protecting using data generated by other researchers in an undesirable manner.
I know that some researcher won’t be happy for the idea of making “their” data available that rapidly, but as I turned to the BOLD project managers in Finland and asked if they have anything against making the projects fully public, no one opposed. I believe that making the generated barcode data open as widely as possible would not benefit only the community, but also individual researchers, and would also enhance collaboration between researchers.
Indeed, it would be really nice to learn about your thoughts regading this topic.