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Microplastics Research Data: Evaluating the Current State of Findability and Accessibility and Recommendations for Improving Data Sharing

Vitenskapelig foredrag
Eksterne nettsted
Amy Lusher
Tia Jenkins, Bhaleka D. Persaud, Win Cowger, Kathy Szigeti, Dominique G. Roche, Erin Clary, Stephanie Slowinski, Benjamin Lei, Amila Abeynayaka, Ebenezer S. Nyadjro, Thomas Maes, Leah Thornton Hampton, Melanie Bergmann, Julian Aherne, Sherri A. Mason, John F. Honek, Fereidoun Rezanezhad, Amy Lorraine Lusher, Andy Booth, Rodney D. L. Smith, P. van Cappellen


With concerns about microplastic pollution increasing, there has been an increase in relevant research. This research will influence funding priorities, public perceptions, environmental policy, and mitigation strategies going forward. It is therefore vital that the corresponding data are findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable (FAIR). To investigate the findability and accessibility of microplastics data and data management practices within the community, (1) a stratified random sample of peer-reviewed microplastics articles and (2) microplastics datasets in online data repositories were examined. Of the subset of 785 microplastics articles studied from the 6608 indexed in the Web of Science, only 28.5% were found to have data sharing statements. The statements revealed that most often, data were provided in the supplementary material (38.8%), with only 13.8% of the statements saying that data were available via a repository. Although 6608 microplastics articles were found, only 279 datasets were found across ten different repositories. While the number of datasets shared in repositories has increased with time, it is still lagging behind the rate of publications. Of the datasets found, 20.4% required additional approval to access the data. Furthermore, many datasets lacked adequate metadata: 15.4% of the datasets did not report a sampling location and 18.2% of the datasets did not report a media type. These results highlight the challenges that will need to be addressed to ensure the long-term availability and accessibility of microplastics data. We offer five recommendations based on the insights of this study to strengthen data sharing and improve data management practices within the microplastics research community.