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Sharing Publication-Related Data and Materials: Responsibilities of Authorship in the Life Sciences
nity. Regardless of the specifics of the hypothetical problem under discussion, the ability to resolve the situation satisfactorily depended ultimately on whether an author could meet the community’s general expectations of getting what was needed to move science forward.
While largely unwritten, the community’s expectations of authors are a reflection of the value of the publication process to the life-sciences community. The central role of publication in science also explains its value to scientists who want to publish their findings. For individual investigators, publication is a way of receiving intellectual credit and recognition from one’s peers (and perhaps the broader public) for the genesis of new knowledge and the prospect of its conversion into beneficial goods and services. Publication also enhances a researcher’s job prospects, ability to be promoted or gain tenure, and prospects for research support.
Companies whose scientists publish their findings also typically receive the intellectual credit, recognition, and prestige that come with such disclosures to the entire scientific community. Such nonfinancial benefits can translate into publicity and increased perceived value of a company to investors and business partners. They also strengthen the scientific reputation of the company in the eyes of potential collaborators, employees, and users of the company’s products.
Regardless of the motivation, the arena of publication is where participants in the research enterprise share, and are recognized for, their contributions to science. Ultimately, this system benefits all members of the scientific community and promotes the progress of science. Although society encourages innovation in other ways (for example, through the patent system), the sharing of scientific findings, data, and materials through publication is at the heart of scientific advancement. A robust and high-quality publication process is, therefore, in the public interest.
In this context, and informed by the views expressed at the workshop and its own subsequent deliberations, the committee found that the life-sciences community does possess commonly held ideas and values about the role of publication in the scientific process. Those ideas define the responsibilities of authors and underpin the development of community