ALPSP & STM believe data should be freely available

The Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP) and The International Association of Scientific, Technical, & Medical Publishers (STM) have issued a joint statement presenting the views of scholarly and scientific publishers concerning access to research data, including that submitted with research papers. The statement recommends that research data should be as widely available as possible, and provides guidance for publishers'own policies.

ALPSP and STM, the two trade associations most specialized in scholarly publishing, together represent approximately 300 nonprofit and commercial scholarly publishers around the world. Between them, these publishers provide at least half of of the world's journals, and well over 60% of all articles.

Scholarly publishers have been concerned for years over confusion between data, databases and journal articles in the public policy debate over databases.

At times publishers have been accused of trying to obtain intellectual property rights in raw data, and otherwise placing obstacles in the path to access of research data.

This statement clarifies that there is a fundamental difference between data that is gathered in the course of research purposes, which is not protected by intellectual property law, and specially-built databases, which are.

The associations recommend that raw research data should in general be made freely available. When data sets are submitted along with a paper for consideration in a scholarly journal, the publisher should not claim intellectual property rights in those data sets, and best practice would be to encourage or even require that the underlying research data be publicly posted for free access.

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