To share or not to share?
Sharing your data:
- enables that data to be validated and tested, improving the scientific record.
- meets funding body requirements obliging awardholders to share their data to avoid duplication of effort and to cut costs.
- is in the public interest, where research data has been publicly funded - in line with the OECD principles and guidelines for access to research data from public funding (pdf - right click to save)
- can facilitate its rediscovery and its preservation as technology becomes obsolete - many studies have shown a correlation between open access to copies of published articles and citation impact, and similar studies are now beginning to be conducted on the sharing of supporting research datasets.
- means that data can be reused for scientific and educational purposes.
Depositing and sharing your data with a specialist data centre, for example, ensures:
- safe-keeping of your data in a secure environment
- long-term preservation of your data
- backup of your data
- refreshment of media over time
When should I consider not sharing my data?
There may be occasions when you should consider not sharing your data:
- If your research data is potentially commercially valuable or exploitable by the University, seek advice before sharing from Isis Innovation.
- If there are ethical issues, legal issues, time constraints and other issues which could limit data sharing opportunities - see the Ethical & Legal issues pages.
- If there are conditions of confidentiality (eg. through industrial sponsors) attached to the funding of your research.
Often, sensitive and confidential data can be shared ethically if informed consent for data sharing has been given, or by anonymising research data. See the UK Data Archive's Consent & Ethics pages for more information and advice.
Links to further information and resources
- Social Sciences: Why Share Data? is an advice page from the UK Data Archive, aimed at researchers working in the social sciences and some humanities disciplines. Teaching materials for a classroom-based course on Sharing Your Data are also available.