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Do journal data sharing mandates work? Life sciences evidence from DryadPurpose: Data sharing is widely thought to help research quality and efficiency. Since data sharing mandates are increasingly adopted by journals this paper assesses whether they work. Design/methodology: This study examines two evolutionary biology journals, Evolution and Heredity, that have data sharing mandates and make extensive use of Dryad. It uses a quantitative analysis of presence in Dryad, downloads and citations. Findings: Within both journals, data sharing seems to be complete showing that the mandates work on a technical level. Low correlations (0.15-0.18) between data downloads and article citation counts for articles published in 2012 within these journals indicate a weak relationship between data sharing and research impact. An average of 40-55 data downloads per article after a few years suggests that some use is found for shared life sciences data. Research limitations: The value of shared data uses is unclear. Practical implications: Data sharing mandates should be encouraged as an effective strategy. Originality/value: This is the first analysis of the effectiveness of data sharing mandates.