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Research Data Management: Overview

A guide to data management, storage and issues in creating a data management plan

Data Sharing Requitements by Federal Agency

Sharing Research Data?

Sharing research data is as simple as sending a file to a colleague, but there are many issues associated with research data sharing that might not be immediately apparent to the investigator.

In terms of basics, many funding agencies, such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Science Foundation (NSF), are requiring researchers to submit a data management plan (DMP) with thier grant paperwork. DMPs force the applicant to give some consideration to data preservation, storage and access. Research data can take many different forms, depending on the discipline, but having data accessible and able to be shared is important to a DMP.

Why Share Your Research Data?

From DataQ:

There are several reasons why you may wish to share your data.

  • Sharing data increases the impact and visibility of your research, which enhances your reputation.
  • As a dataset is re-used to test new hypotheses, either individually or in combination with other datasets, it increases the pace of research and innovation.
  • It reduces the cost of research by reducing the need for duplicate data collection. This means that research funding can go further.
  • It maximizes the accountability and transparency of research, which in turn makes fraud more difficult.
  • It improves the validation of research methods, particularly those regarding data collection and analysis.
  • It encourages enquiry and debate, and can lead to new collaborations.
  • Your data can facilitate the education and training of new researchers.
  • As the data are shared, re-used, and cited, it becomes a research output in its own right, similar to a journal article or other research publication.

The above reasons to share are just good for science, but you may not have a choice whether to share or not. A major reason you would want to share is because you are required to per funder or journal policies. Many people benefit from data sharing: students, researchers, funding agencies, and the public. I encourage you to reach out to your local academic library to find out more about data sharing in your field of research.

The Data Life Cycle