Activating Incentives

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    Julien Emile-Geay
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    “People respond to incentives” is another definition for economics.

    In the academic realm, there are really only two incentives that people respond to : funding and publication. Here are some initial thoughts on how to activate these levers to promote adoption.

    Funding Agencies: very little is likely to happen unless program managers encourage grant recipients to observe PaCTS when archiving their data online, which is now a requirement of many funding agencies around the world. Typically, the archiving guidelines are very loose, leading to a lack of standardization. Action items: engage with our funding agencies to flag PaCTS to their grantees, and make it explicit in the proposal preparation instructions that PaCTS (or a suitable alternative, if there is one) should be part of the data management plan. Now comes the hard part: they should also check a posteriori that these guidelines have been observed by investigators. Currently, there appears to be no-one at the US National Science Foundation Paleoclimate program checking that datasets are archived anywhere after the project concludes, much less archived in a standard way. Does anyone know what the situation is like in other countries?

    Publishers: FAIR data are all the rage among journals now. Yet, again, this comes with very loose requirements. Influential journals publishing paleoclimate studies need to mandate that this is done according to a community-defined standard. Again, while PaCTS v1.0 is far from optimal, it is better than nothing, and engaging publishers to develop and adopt v2.0 sounds like a good way forward.

    What do you think?

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