Sharing your data via the Archive ensures that your data will be professionally curated, will be easily accessible to users now and in the future and increases the impact and visibility of your own research.
Research data are a valuable resource, usually requiring much time and money to be produced. Many data have a significant value beyond the original research. Sharing data:
- encourages scientific enquiry and debate
- enables scrutiny of research outcomes
- facilitates research beyond the scope of the original research
- leads to new collaborations between data users and data creators
- increases the impact and visibility of research
- promotes and credits the research that created the data and its outcomes
- reduces the cost of duplicating data collection
- provides important resources for education and training
- encourages the improvement and validation of research methods
The scientific process is enhanced by managing and sharing research data. sharing data permits new and innovative research built on existing information but also allows reliable verification of results.
Depositing and sharing data with a specialist data centre such as the UK Data Archive ensures:
- safe-keeping of research data in a secure environment
- long-term preservation and back-up of data
- resource discovery of data through inclusion in online catalogues
- rights management of data (licensing issues)
- administration for data access
- enhancing the visibility of your data and enabling more use and citation
- management and monitoring of usage of data
- promotion of data to user groups
Here at the Archive we have been curating data for more than 40 years over which time we have gained a wealth of expertise in all aspects of data curation, dissemination and user support.
Managing data so that it can be shared should not be onerous, but form part of good research practice.
Research funders increasingly follow guidance from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) that publicly funded research data should be openly available to the scientific community to the maximum extent possible. They have adopted data sharing policies and encourage or oblige researchers to share research datasets, findings and outputs. Data sharing policies allow researchers exclusive data use for a reasonable time period in which to publish the results of the data. In addition, journals increasingly require data that form the basis for publications to be shared or deposited within an accessible database or repository.
In the UK, the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the British Academy contractually require researchers to offer all research data resulting from their grants to designated data centres - UK Data Archive and NERC data centres. In addition, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the Wellcome Trust now all have data policies which encourage researchers to share their research data in a timely manner, with as few restrictions as possible.