MURFREESBORO, Tenn. —If two heads are better than one, why isn’t reusing existing scientific data more desirable than going it alone? That’s the question under discussion on the next “MTSU On the Record” radio program.
Host Gina Logue’s interview with Elizabeth Dalton, an assistant professor of communication studies, will air from 9:30 to 10 p.m. Tuesday, May 8, and from 6 to 6:30 a.m. Sunday, May 13, on WMOT-FM Roots Radio 89.5 and www.wmot.org.
A study by Dalton and four colleagues from other institutions found that perceptions and attitudes toward data sharing in the academic community affect whether data will be reused in future studies.
Many respondents to the study survey stated they would only get career credit for data they gather themselves. Others cited difficulty in recovering available and relevant data or inability to determine the quality of the data.
The relevance for the non-academic public is to be able to rely on the data that governmental agencies and think tanks use to make recommendations about what we eat, the impact of climate change, the efficacy of drugs and other information that affects people’s everyday lives.
For example, Dr. Albert Sabin might have invented the oral polio vaccine on his own, but having Dr. Jonas Salk’s injectable polio vaccine precede it was a boon both to academic research and the general public.
“People may not go out there and actually look at this data, but that’s not really the point,” Dalton said. “It’s just the fact of the data being available in a transparent way that can help improve the public’s trust in science.”
The study by Dalton and her colleagues was published in the Dec. 27, 2017, edition of www.plos.org, the website of the nonprofit organization Public Library of Science.
To hear previous “MTSU On the Record” programs, go to http://bit.ly/mtsu-otr.
For more information about the radio program, contact Logue at 615-898-5081 or WMOT-FM at 615-898-2800.