I have been reading your interesting paper
In the last six years or so I have sent around 420 emails whose first line started: “I have been reading your interesting paper”, followed a few lines later by: “Would it be possible to obtain a copy of the data?”, and then some background and links to blog posts and my previous book.
The response break down is roughly as follows:
Received data 136 32% No reply 132 32% Pending (received a positive reply) 49 12% Confidential 42 10% No longer have the data 20 5% Best known address bounces 11 3%
Thanks to those 136 researchers who took the time to collect together their data and send me a copy.
The “No reply” response get a second email 6-9 months after the first. I’m hoping that the availability of a draft of the book will generate some positive publicity that reminds researchers they have had an email from me and are missing out.
The “Confidential” case is relatively low because it is often obvious that the data is confidential and I don’t bother asking for a copy (I only use data that can be made public).
A common reason behind “No longer have the data” is a change of laptop and sometimes a change of jobs. If the paper is more than five years old, I tend not to ask unless the data looks very interesting. Mine and others’ experiences show that research data has a relatively short half-life.
I try quite hard to find a workable address, sometimes emailing supervisors and going via LinkedIn.