PALO ALTO. Publishing a paper without releasing data is more like telling a story or a funny anecdote than actual science, a recent study has found.
Scientists from the Wide institute, led by Arthur MacDaniel, presented their work at the American Real Science Emporium (ARSE) meeting in Palo Alto last Tuesday. In their work, they argue that publishing a paper and saying that the “data are available on request” is rather like saying you “heard it from a mate” and therefore the results should be treated with equal disdain.
“Come on mucka!” said Arthur, in his characteristic style “Let’s be honest – it’s crap ain’t it? Soon as I see ‘data available on request’ I think ‘that dingo’s lying out of his toosh’. It’s just a tall tale, cowboys round a campfire telling ghost stories. Don’t mean nothin'” he finished.
Back in the old days, scientists had to write everything down using pen-and-ink, and communicated via letters sent using pigeons. Understandably, sharing large data sets was then near-impossible; however, in the modern age of the internet and large computers, there is little need to keep data hidden, unless you have something to hide. Luckily, large projects such as the 1000 genomes project, share their data publicly.
We asked Arthur “Crocodile” MacDaniel about the utility of big datasets such as the 1000 genomes data: “1000 genomes?! Pah. Call that big data?” (at this point Arthur reached into his back pocket and pulled out a massive hard drive) “That’s not big data – this is big data!”