Nav: Home

Would you share your scientific results before publication?

May 16, 2018

Scientists who surveyed more than 7,000 active faculty researchers in the U.S. and abroad report that more than half of them had disclosed their results before publication, largely to receive feedback. With regards to other motivations for pre-publication disclosure, as well as trade-offs, there is great variation by field, say the authors - with social scientists and mathematicians, for example, being the most likely to disclose.

The results of this study offer novel insights into why, and at what stage, researchers share their work before they publish, as well as how norms, competition and commercial orientation (factors the authors collectively call the "NCC variables") influence their decision.

To date, whether or not scientists should share information with colleagues before publication is widely debated, especially given the possibility of being scooped. To illuminate factors that affect scientists' willingness to do so, Jerry G. Thursby and colleagues analyzed publication data and survey responses from 7,103 active faculty researchers from the U.S., Germany and Switzerland across nine scientific fields. They explored whether these individuals had indeed disclosed before publication, and if so, the motivation and stage, as well as information on how often respondents presented unpublished results to general audiences versus withholding such information when presenting.

Overall, 67.2% of respondents reported disclosing before publication and the dominant motive was to receive feedback; engineers and computer scientists were less likely to disclose. More formulaic fields, such as computer science and mathematics, often present their research before publication to attract competitors to work separately on a problem in their field, but not their specific problem, the authors note. Disclosing behavior generally relates to differences in the 12 NCC variables, and differences in respondents' beliefs account for 70% of the variation across fields, Thursby et al. say.

American Association for the Advancement of Science

Related Research Articles:

Related Research Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Failure can feel lonely and final. But can we learn from failure, even reframe it, to feel more like a temporary setback? This hour, TED speakers on changing a crushing defeat into a stepping stone. Guests include entrepreneur Leticia Gasca, psychology professor Alison Ledgerwood, astronomer Phil Plait, former professional athlete Charly Haversat, and UPS training manager Jon Bowers.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#524 The Human Network
What does a network of humans look like and how does it work? How does information spread? How do decisions and opinions spread? What gets distorted as it moves through the network and why? This week we dig into the ins and outs of human networks with Matthew Jackson, Professor of Economics at Stanford University and author of the book "The Human Network: How Your Social Position Determines Your Power, Beliefs, and Behaviours".