A game theoretic analysis of research data sharing

TitleA game theoretic analysis of research data sharing
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsPronk, T. E., Wiersma P. H., van Weerden A., & Schieving F.
Date Published2015/09/08/
ISBN Number2167-8359

While reusing research data has evident benefits for the scientific community as a whole, decisions to archive and share these data are primarily made by individual researchers. In this paper we analyse, within a game theoretical framework, how sharing and reuse of research data affect individuals who share or do not share their datasets. We construct a model in which there is a cost associated with sharing datasets whereas reusing such sets implies a benefit. In our calculations, conflicting interests appear for researchers. Individual researchers are always better off not sharing and omitting the sharing cost, at the same time both sharing and not sharing researchers are better off if (almost) all researchers share. Namely, the more researchers share, the more benefit can be gained by the reuse of those datasets. We simulated several policy measures to increase benefits for researchers sharing or reusing datasets. Results point out that, although policies should be able to increase the rate of sharing researchers, and increased discoverability and dataset quality could partly compensate for costs, a better measure would be to directly lower the cost for sharing, or even turn it into a (citation-) benefit. Making data available would in that case become the most profitable, and therefore stable, strategy. This means researchers would willingly make their datasets available, and arguably in the best possible way to enable reuse.

Short TitlePeerJ

Gap Area Study Type:

High-level Gap Areas:

Used a game theory model to investigate the costs and benefits of sharing data to researchers
Created a model and ran simulations using different parameters to analyze implications for sharing in a variety of scenarios