• Data in brief: Can a mega-journal for data be useful?

      Thelwall, Michael (Springer Nature, 2020-04-07)
      As part of the current move towards open science, there is increasing pressure for scientists to share their research data. In support of this, several journals only publish descriptions of data generated from research: data papers. It is not clear whether this service encourages data reuse, however. This article assesses the prevalence and impact of the largest such journal, Data in Brief, comparing it with 24 other general or specialist data journals. The results show that Data in Brief became the largest data journal in 2016 and that its papers attracted over five Mendeley readers each, within a year of publication, as well as a non-trivial amount of citations. Its papers have been cited for relevance or facts contained in them in addition to acknowledging the reuse of associated datasets in about 1% of cases. Some papers describe electronic dataset whereas other papers embedded the tables or images that formed the shared data. Overall, the journal seems to make a positive contribution to science by enabling access to multiple types of data, even though its papers rarely lead to data reuse.