- Published: August 4, 2016
- Citation: Voytek B (2016) The Virtuous Cycle of a Data Ecosystem. PLoS Comput Biol 12(8): e1005037. doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1005037Editor: Philip E. Bourne, National Institutes of Health, UNITED STATESPublished: August 4, 2016Copyright: © 2016 Bradley Voytek. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.Funding: This work was supported by the UCSD Qualcomm Institute Calit2 Strategic Research Opportunities program and a Sloan Research Fellowship. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.Competing interests: The author declares that no competing interests exist.
Modern science is creating data at an unprecedented rate, yet most of these data are being discarded. Raw scientific data, when they are published at all, are provided in a very limited form. Large, multidimensional datasets—rich with hidden information—are reduced to summary statistics filtered through limitations imposed by contemporary methods and technologies, and through the biased lens of the originating research group. The massive loss of raw data currently underway, and the lack of a system for discovering them, hinders scientific progress. In this Perspective, I argue that our contemporary limited view of the long-term scientific and medical benefits that could be made possible by data sharing masks the benefits for doing so. This, in turn, makes the costs of data sharing seem higher than they are.
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