Funding for study on the incentives for data sharing

Article dated: 27 February 2014

The UK Data Archive has been awarded funding to investigate current incentives for researchers to share their data for future reuse.

The study, commissioned by Knowledge Exchange, will research current and future incentives for data sharing, based on qualitative interviews with five research teams with an established data sharing culture in partner countries of Knowledge Exchange. The partner countries are Finland, Denmark, Germany, United Kingdom, and the Netherlands. The research teams span various academic disciplines: arts and humanities, social sciences, biomedicine, chemistry and biology.

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 focus of this study will be on incentives for sharing data, from the researchers' point of view, to inform the research community and policy makers.

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 most efficient moments in the research process for incentivising data sharing
  • provide recommendations for policy development regarding the incentivising of data access and reuse

Veerle Van den Eynden, Co-Investigator of this project with Libby Bishop said, "This project builds on our work in encouraging good data management practices in research and optimising the sharing of data by researchers. It will help our understanding of the best ways to encourage researchers to share their data."