If two heads are better than one, why isn’t reusing existing scientific data more desirable than going it alone? That’s the question under discussion on a recent “MTSU On the Record” radio program.
Host Gina Logue’s interview with Dr. Elizabeth “Betsy” Dalton, an assistant professor of communication studies in the Department of Communication Studies and Organizational Communication, first aired May 8 on WMOT-FM Roots Radio 89.5 and www.wmot.org. You can listen to their conversation above.
A study by Dalton and four colleagues from other institutions found that perceptions and attitudes toward data sharing in the academic community affect whether data will be reused in future studies.
Many respondents to the study survey stated they would only get career credit for data they gather themselves. Others cited difficulty in recovering available and relevant data or inability to determine the quality of the data.
The relevance for the nonacademic public is to be able to rely on the data that governmental agencies and think tanks use to make recommendations about what we eat, the impact of climate change, the efficacy of drugs and other information that affects people’s everyday lives.
For example, she said, Dr. Albert Sabin might have invented the oral polio vaccine on his own, but having Dr. Jonas Salk’s injectable polio vaccine precede it was a boon both to academic research and the public.
“People may not go out there and actually look at this data, but that’s not really the point,” Dalton said. “It’s just the fact of the data being available in a transparent way that can help improve the public’s trust in science.”
The study by Dalton and her colleagues was published in the Dec. 27, 2017, edition of www.plos.org, a nonprofit open-source publisher founded in 2001 as the Public Library of Science.
To hear previous “MTSU On the Record” programs, visit the searchable “Audio Clips” archives at www.mtsunews.com. For more information about “MTSU On the Record,” contact Logue at 615-898-5081 or WMOT-FM at 615-898-2800.