Journals and publishers increasingly require data that underpin publications to be shared or deposited within an accessible database or repository for analysis by readers.
Some funders, including the European Research Council’s (ERC) Horizon 2020 Pilot on Open Research Data, also encourage making research data available following FAIR data principles – all research data should be Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable (FAIR).
Below is a list outlining the benefits of sharing research data.
Sharing research data:
- encourages scientific enquiry and debate
- promotes innovation and potential new data uses
- allows for new collaborations between data users and data creators
- maximises transparency and accountability
- allows for scrutiny of research findings
- allows for the improvement and validation of research methods
- reduces the cost of duplicating data collection
- increases the impact and visibility of research
- allows for credit for research outputs
- is likely to increase citation rates
- is great resources for education and training
- maximises return on investment for research funders and researchers
Much research data – even sensitive data – can be shared ethically and legally if researchers are aware of and apply some of the following aspects:
- Data sharing arrangements must be clear at the point of gaining informed consent with research participants.
- Prior to the data sharing, the purpose of subsequent research must be made clear.
- Identities must be protected through anonymization of personal data.
- The conditions for access to the data must be verified.
- A review of an ethics committee is available.