Heather shows that Open Data increases Citations

If your life is driven by citations, then Heather Piwowar has shown that data openly accessible in papers increases the citations. From her blog:

Piwowar HA, Day RS, Fridsma DB (2007) Sharing Detailed Research Data Is Associated with Increased Citation Rate. PLoS ONE 2(3):e308.

I use the DOI to find the paper in PLoS where she and co-authors write:


Sharing research data provides benefit to the general scientific community, but the benefit is less obvious for the investigator who makes his or her data available.

Principal Findings

We examined the citation history of 85 cancer microarray clinical trial publications with respect to the availability of their data. The 48% of trials with publicly available microarray data received 85% of the aggregate citations. Publicly available data was significantly (p = 0.006) associated with a 69% increase in citations, independently of journal impact factor, date of publication, and author country of origin using linear regression.


This correlation between publicly available data and increased literature impact may further motivate investigators to share their detailed research data.

SIXTY-NINE percent increase in citations because you share your data with the rest of the world! Yes, many scientists don’t like posting their data – why? because someone else might check it – well we have to accept that is part of science. Someone else might be cleverer than us and see patterns in it that we have missed. Again part of science. Someone else might mash it with other datasets and come up with new findings. Of course.
But they have to cite us! So it’s not a bad bargain (if citations are honest). And it makes you feel good. And after all understanding cancer microarrays might help us in developing better therapies.
So well done Heather, and thanks for your blog. We’re glad to see that PLoS publishes bibliometrics so you could get a paper there. I know you haven’t been cited yet, but perhaps PLoS lets you know how many people download your paper. I hope it’s a lot. And maybe even the citation in this blog will prompt someone.
And, while on downloads, wouldn’t it be a good idea if publishers gave us a count of how many downloads of DATA there were? That’s a real metric. And one where Open Data shines. So, publishers – a level playing field for Open Data…

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2 Responses to Heather shows that Open Data increases Citations

  1. Pingback: Taking steps to further improve our privacy practices - BlogStuffPro.com

  2. Yes this is great stuff for us to use.
    Unfortunately, PLoS ONE kept throwing an error when I tried to submit a comment. I reported it so hopefully that will get fixed and we can give her some feedback there.

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