The controversy over the Tyrannosaurus rex data that Raj Mukhopadhyay posted about last month just won’t go away. Now, questions about data sharing are being raised in response to how the lead investigator, John Asara, made the mass spectral data available to the proteomics community.
Adding fuel to the already blazing fire, Asara deposited the data into a free public proteomics database, but he included a rider that stated that any other peptides identified by anyone else were owned by the T. rex researchers and were not publishable without their permission. Many proteomics scientists were appalled that such restrictions were placed on free data.
The whole brouhaha got us thinking about the larger issue of data sharing in proteomics. After interviewing proteomics experts, we found that database administrators do not routinely check entries for such restrictions. In addition, some researchers say that all proteomics data sets should be freely available so that bioinformaticians can develop better tools with them. Other researchers counter they’d like to keep mining their data sets that they worked so hard to generate, so they’d prefer to keep some of the information private. And on the whole, proteomics scientists are more reluctant than their genomics counterparts to make their data publicly accessible.
What do you think: when should data be shared, and why might proteomics researchers have a different view than other –omics investigators?