Big data and access to that data is not just an issue in genomics. Social scientists are also running into problems getting access to repositories of data, like those for cell phone or Internet activity, reports The New York Times. "Many of the emerging 'big data' come from private sources that are inaccessible to other researchers. The data source may be hidden, compounding problems of verification, as well as concerns about the generality of the results," writes Bernardo Huberman in a letter to Nature.
The Times notes that few social science journals have guidelines for sharing data. Further, the Times adds that even if such guidelines are established, they are not always followed. "A recent review found that 44 of 50 leading scientific journals instructed their authors on sharing data but that fewer than 30 percent of the papers they published fully adhered to the instructions," it says.