Doctoral Schools Hot Topic Lecture: Sharing your research data: good scientific practice, but is it for me?

15 December 2014
University of Ghent

Research data form the building blocks of science, knowledge and innovation. Technological advances accelerate the ease to make digital information and data accessible to a very wide audience.

In the last decade we have seen an increasing drive for openness about research data in science, for research integrity, to provide the evidence for published papers, and as a resource for new and future research. Much research depends strongly on the availability of information and data. Data sharing is key for open science, to provide unhindered access to scientific information and data. This message is pushed at different levels, by research funders (e.g. the Horizon 2020 open data pilot), by politicians (e.g. the G8 Science Ministers statement on open scientific data) and by high-ranking journals that demand availability of data that underpin publications (e.g. Nature, PLoS, BMJ).

Individual researchers react to this in different ways. Some embrace the new openness of science and the sharing of data for the new opportunities and collaborations this brings for their research. Others are reluctant to share their data for fear of competition, lack of rewards, to protect IP, or to hide weak evidence and data errors.

Openness about data highlights the need for good data management practices in the research community, and for the development of data infrastructure.

Practical opportunities for individual researchers to publish and share their data across a range of disciplines via journals and repositories will be showcased, as well as state-of-the-art developments for data sharing such as repository solutions, persistent identifiers for data collections, data citations and linked publications. Also the ethical and legal aspects of data sharing in research with human participants will be highlighted, with the UK Data Archive having developed extensive expertise in this area.


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