Data sharing as social dilemma: Influence of the researcher’s personality
Linek, S. B., Fecher, B., Friesike, S., & Hebing, M.
PLoS ONE, 12(8)
It is widely acknowledged that data sharing has great potential for scientific progress. However, so far making data available has little impact on a researcher’s reputation. Thus, data sharing can be conceptualized as a social dilemma. In the presented study we investigated the influence of the researcher's personality within the social dilemma of data sharing. The theoretical background was the appropriateness framework. We conducted a survey among 1564 researchers about data sharing, which also included standardized questions on selected personality factors, namely the so-called Big Five, Machiavellianism and social desirability. Using regression analysis, we investigated how these personality domains relate to four groups of dependent variables: attitudes towards data sharing, the importance of factors that might foster or hinder data sharing, the willingness to share data, and actual data sharing. Our analyses showed the predictive value of personality for all four groups of dependent variables. However, there was not a global consistent pattern of influence, but rather different compositions of effects. Our results indicate that the implications of data sharing are dependent on age, gender, and personality. In order to foster data sharing, it seems advantageous to provide more personal incentives and to address the researchers’ individual responsibility.