May 19, 2022

Journal Article: “A Study of the Impact of Data Sharing on Article Citations Using Journal Policies as a Natural Experiment”

The following article was recently published by PLoS One.


A Study of the Impact of Data Sharing on Article Citations Using Journal Policies as a Natural Experiment


Garret Christensen
U.S. Census Bureau

Allan Dafoe
University of Oxford

Edward Miguel
University of California, Berkeley

Don A. Moore
University of California, Berkeley

Andrew K. Rose
University of California, Berkeley


PLoS ONE 14(12): e0225883.
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0225883


This study estimates the effect of data sharing on the citations of academic articles, using journal policies as a natural experiment. We begin by examining 17 high-impact journals that have adopted the requirement that data from published articles be publicly posted. We match these 17 journals to 13 journals without policy changes and find that empirical articles published just before their change in editorial policy have citation rates with no statistically significant difference from those published shortly after the shift. We then ask whether this null result stems from poor compliance with data sharing policies, and use the data sharing policy changes as instrumental variables to examine more closely two leading journals in economics and political science with relatively strong enforcement of new data policies. We find that articles that make their data available receive 97 additional citations (estimate standard error of 34). We conclude that: a) authors who share data may be rewarded eventually with additional scholarly citations, and b) data-posting policies alone do not increase the impact of articles published in a journal unless those policies are enforced.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.