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Data Sharing and Citations: Causal Evidence

Garret Christensen, Edward Miguel, and Alan Dafoe examined the existence of a causal link between publicly shared data and citations count for research papers in economics and political science. The authors used exogenous variation in data availability caused by the institution of mandatory data sharing policy at two top journals in their respective disciplines – The American Journal of Political Science (AJPS) and The American Economic Review (AER), compared to other top journals in the discipline without such a policy, the American Political Science Review and the Quarterly Journal of Economics. Based on a sample of 3,000 papers (two thirds of which were published in top economics journals), they found large and positive associations between sharing data and code and the number of citations, with 30-45% more citations. The evidence is more mixed when looking at causality, however, with evidence that the increase in economics is causal, but not in political science. They conclude that though open science practices may not clearly have caused increased citations in all disciplines, “it is clear that the type of author who practices transparent research and shares their data is cited more.”

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