suspected—until the motivations and credentials of the requestor are validated. Although that subject has not been well explored, it seems appropriate to have journal editors mediate disagreements in such situations.
In addition to helping to resolve cases of noncompliance after publication, scientific journals can play an important role in encouraging authors to comply with standards and the principles of publication before a paper is published by incorporating transparent standards into their official policies. As noted in Chapter 2, a recent examination of the instructions for authors of 56 life-sciences and clinical-medicine journals showed that the specifics of these policies vary considerably (Table 2–1). Furthermore, 25 of the 56 journals do not have any stated policy on sharing of data or materials in their instructions for authors, and clinical journals are more likely than life-sciences journals to lack such a policy.
Another factor that may contribute to noncompliance is that few journals—even among journals that have an official policy for sharing materials or data—provide any statement or policy guidelines as to the consequences for authors who do not comply. Furthermore, most journals do not provide a procedure for registering or publicizing complaints about noncompliance. Of journals that specify sanctions, most say that they would consider denying a noncomplying author further rights to publish in their journals; several participants considered this insufficient to engender compliance. Some workshop participants noted that peer pressure and opinion can be influential in bringing about compliance. A journal might choose to publicly declare an author’s noncompliance (after all honest attempts are exhausted) in a specific section dedicated to this purpose.
Nicholas Cozzarelli, editor-in-chief of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), provided commentary at the workshop about an “escalator policy” for handling complaints about noncompliance. If an author does not provide requested material after receiving a letter from PNAS, it will threaten not to publish future papers by that author. Finally, the PNAS will threaten not to let that author’s coauthors publish again in the journal. Further workshop comment by Laurie