ESDS and UK Data Archive support call by MPs to make data available

Article dated: 30 August 2011

The Economic and Social Data Service (ESDS) and the UK Data Archive are endorsing MPs who recommend making research data available in order to bolster the integrity of the peer-review process while providing a rich stream of data for new research.

In late July 2011, members of the Science and Technology Committee of the House of Commons called on researchers to fully disclose their data and make it publicly available so as to allow others to repeat and build on scientific experiments.

The recommendation comes in a published report examining the peer-review system as used in scientific publications and the related issues of research impact, data management, publication ethics and research integrity.

Managing and Sharing Data: best practice for researchers

"This is a fantastic announcement," says Matthew Woollard, Director of the ESDS and UK Data Archive. "It fully vindicates the long-term policy of the ESDS and the Archive to provide as much guidance as possible to ensure that researchers and other data creators are in the best position to make their data available for re-use and validation. We believe that the 'strong reasons' advanced by the committee should generally be limited to matters of privacy and personal protection."

Resources available

Over the past several years, ESDS and the UK Data Archive have established an expertise in data management issues, developing best-practice guidelines, tools and workshops to help researchers plan and manage their data effectively so it can be shared in the best way possible.

The Archive's guides and tools are free of charge to all researchers and they directly support the ESRC's Research Data Policy, which requires researchers who are creating data to include an explicit data management and sharing plan in their funding applications. The ESRC policy came into effect in April 2011.