Title: How and why do scientists reuse others’ data to produce new knowledge? Background, Foreground, and Beyond
Time: Saturday, 15 September 2018, 14:00-15:30. Presentation and audience discussion.
In studying the circumstances of data reuse across scientific disciplines, two general categories emerge. One is background reuses, where research data produced by others can be applied to calibrate, set baselines, “ground truth,” or otherwise frame a problem or project. The other is foreground reuses, where research data produced by others can be reused to formulate new problems, test hypotheses, or otherwise advance new research questions. Background reuse is more common, and often goes unmentioned and uncredited in scholarly publications. Foreground use is more complex, and often leads to co-authorship or other collaboration between those who generated and those who reuse a dataset. We develop a theoretical framework to explain background and foreground reuses of research data with empirical examples drawn from biomedicine, environmental sciences, sensor networks, and astronomy. Our findings have an array of implications for data management, science policy, and credit in scholarly publishing.