PLoS shows that publishing raw data can be a win-win situation

The PLoS blog Integrative Paleontologists has a cool story that shows why is it a good idea to have open data, or publish your raw research data. A paper in PLoS ONE studied dinosaur teeth, but what gave the authors the edge to answer the question they were after was being able to add data to their dataset from other papers. This allowed them to have a dataset of 1,200 data points!

A selection of carnivorous dinosaur teeth. These are representatives of eight tooth types that occur in rocks spanning 15 million years of evolutionary history–but the general forms surely represent more than eight biological species over this time! Figure 2 from Larson & Currie 2013.. CC-BY.

A selection of dinosaur teeth. Figure 2 from Larson & Currie 2013.

This is a win-win situation for everyone. Researchers Larson and Currie were able to merge the previously-published data with their own new data into a monster analysis (1,200+ data points, remember) that significantly advances science as a whole.

Why would we keep data we are done with when others can do more science with it?

Check out the post for the details.

Paper: Larson DW, Currie PJ. 2013. Multivariate analyses of small theropod dinosaur teeth and implications for paleoecological turnover through time. PLOS ONE 8(1): e54329. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0054329

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