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The use of incentives - case studies on current and future incentives for research data sharing

A research project, commissioned by Knowledge Exchange, investigating current incentives for data sharing amongst researchers.

The benefits of research data sharing are well recognised amongst researchers and society in general, to speed up scientific progress for the benefit of science and society, as well as for economic benefits. Whilst the last decade has seen rapid growth in the policy drivers of data sharing, as well as the development of human and material capability to do so, the sharing of data by researchers is still not as prevalent as it was expected to be.


The aim of this study is to provide evidence and examples of useful incentives for data sharing from the researchers' point of view, to inform scientists and policy makers. The study is based on qualitative interviews with five research teams with an established data sharing culture in partner countries of Knowledge Exchange (Finland, Denmark, Germany, United Kingdom, and the Netherlands), and spanning various academic disciplines (arts and humanities, social sciences, biomedicine, chemistry and biology).

This study will:

  • identify official but especially also yet unknown or unofficial incentives of researchers for making data available with a focus on the values and intrinsic motivations of the individual as well as on the interactions within research teams and in the larger research community
  • analyse existing and possible future benefits for researchers sharing their data
  • investigate the influence of existing policies on the practice of data sharing throughout the whole lifecycle of the research process as well as the influence of existing institutions and infrastructures offering support services for data sharing
  • consider the whole research lifecycle and classify the most efficient moments in the research process for incentivising data sharing
  • provide recommendations for policy development regarding the incentivising of data access and reuse

As output this project will produce a report on the use of incentives for data sharing, with recommendations for scientist and policy makers, to be presented at a Knowledge Exchange event. All data will be made available and shared via the UK Data Service and Knowledge Exchange.

Archive contribution

This project is managed, research carried out and outputs delivered by the principal investigators at the UK Data Archive, in dialogue with Knowledge Exchange and in collaboration with local interviewers in the partner countries: Anders Conrad (DK), Damien Lecarpentier and Irina Kupiainen (FL), Jens Nieschulze and Juliane Steckel (GE), and Joeri Nortier (NL). The resulting data (interview recordings and transcripts) will be archived and shared via the UK Data Service.


Principal investigator:  Veerle Van den Eynden and Libby Bishop
Funder:  Knowledge Exchange, Danish Agency for Culture, Copenhagen, Denmark
Dates:  February 2014 - May 2014
Contact:  Veerle Van den Eynden
Links:  Project report - Sowing the seed: Incentives and motivations for sharing research data, a researcher's perspective