Sharing your data
Many funders stipulate that data created as part of a research project should be available for re-use, subject to legal, commercial and ethical contraints. Cited benefits include maximising transparency by allowing others to scrutinise research findings, increasing the impact of research and promoting innovation. RCUK-funded research papers must now include a short statement describing how and on what terms any supporting research data may be accessed.
Research data can also be requested under Freedom of Information legislation.
You should consider how you will share you data as part of the data management planning process.
How to share research data
There are different ways you can provide access to your data.
- Data associated with publications should be deposited in Pure or in the repository specified by the funder. If a recognised discipline-specific repository is available, that can be used. For data deposited in Pure, a data doi can be minted for use in the publication.
- Other data can be deposited suitable subject or disciplinary repository. A list of reputable repositories is maintained by the Registry of Research Data Repositories (re3data.org)
- Some publishers require data to be submitted to alongside the associated publication.
If data is held in an external repository or with a publisher, a record should be created in Pure describing the data and linking via a persistent url or doi to the data.
Non-digital data should be stored in such a way as to allow you to supply the data on request. A record in Pure can be created to describe the data, and how it can be accessed.
You should ensure your data is sufficiently described and documented to allow reuse.
More information: Pure guide: How to deposit data in Pure
Licensing and IPR
The rights to who owns research data should be established at the start of the project to avoid later confusion.
Licensing your data sets the conditions under which others can re-use your data. There are a number of licenses you can us, the most commonly used licenses are Creative Commons licenses. For example, the "By-attribution, Non-commercial license (CC-BY-NC) means that anyone can use your data as long as they attribute you and don't use it for commercial purposes. For more information, see the Creative Commons website.
For research data, you can also use Open Data Commons licenses.
The license you choose is up to you, bearing in mind your funder's requirements. Funders may not specify a license but specify that the data should be openly available.
More information: DCC Guide : How to license research data
When not to share research data
Ethical, legal and commercial considerations will also influence your decision on what to share, however much research data can be shared if appropriate strategies of informed consent, anonymisation and controlling access to data are implemented. See UK Data Service Guide Legal and Ethical Issues.
Advice on on data security, handling sensitive or personal data is available from Heritage and Information Governance.
Advice on IPR and commercialisation is available from Research and Enterprise Services.
Ethical issues should be addressed through your School ethics committee/group.