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Research Data Management: Data Sharing

Overview

Data sharing is an important component of the research process. There are many gradations of data sharing. Data sharing can encompass everything from informally allowing a colleague access to your data, to adding metadata and a description of your data to a disciplinary data repository, to publishing your data. The previous examples only scratch the surface of the possibilities.

 

If you are composing a data management plan, it is wise to broach the subject of data sharing, regardless of whether at this particular moment you plan to share your data. Data sharing involves consideration of legality, ethics, and preservation--and thus, is a subject worth ample deliberation, early on in your research project.

Benefits of data sharing

The benefits of data sharing outweigh the negatives. The benefits of data sharing are bestowed on numerous actors within the research environment.

Benefits for researchers:

  • Increased visibility
  • Potentially increased citations--studies have found that papers which share their underlying data are cited more frequently
  • Increases opportunities for collaboration with other researchers
  • Encourages enquiry and debate
  • Avoids unnecessary duplication of research

Benefits for research participants:

  • Maximizes use of contributed information
  • Minimizes data collection on difficult-to-reach or over-researched groups

Benefits for institutions:

  • With the increased visibility of an institution’s researchers, comes increased visibility for the institution itself
  • Institutional research funds are put to optimal use
  • Increased material for teaching and learning

Benefits for the public:

  • Increases verifiability of research
  • Increases trust in research
  • Ensures transparency
  • Public research funds are put to optimal use

Thanks to Managing and Sharing Research Data by Corti, et al.