Data are any and all of the digital materials that are collected and analyzed in the pursuit of scientific advances. In line with its stance on providing Open Access to research articles themselves, PLOS strongly believes that, to best foster scientific progress, the underlying data should be made freely available for researchers to use, wherever this is legal and ethical. Data availability allows validation, replication, reanalysis, new analysis, reinterpretation, or inclusion into meta-analyses, and facilitates reproducibility of research [1]. Making data available for all these uses provides a better “bang for the buck” out of scientific research, much of which is funded from public or nonprofit sources. Ultimately, our viewpoint is quite simple: Ensuring access to the underlying data should be an intrinsic part of the scientific publishing process.

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