11 June 2008

Improving research data sharing and management

The UK's Research Information Network (RIN) just published a report on a project to investigate the publication and quality assurance of research data. The report 'To Share or not to Share: Publication and Quality Assurance of Research Data Outputs', finds that realising the full potential of data requires further progress in data management policies and practice.

The report argues that "research findings in digital form can [nowadays] be easily moved around, duplicated, handed to others, worked on with new tools, merged with other data, divided up in new ways, stored in vast volumes and manipulated by supercomputers if their nature so demands. There is now widespread recognition that data are a valuable long-term resource and that sharing them and making them publicly-available is essential if their potential value is to be realised."

Based on its survey of scientists, the report highlights "two essential reasons for making research data publicly-available: first, to make them part of the scholarly record that can be validated and tested; second, so that they can be re-used by others in new research."

A set of conclusions and recommendations are provided under the headings:

Creating and caring for data

Policy-makers need to take full account of the different kinds of research data researchers produce, the different values they have, and the different needs of researchers and other potential users.

There is a need for co-operation between researchers, funders and institutions to ensure that sustainable arrangements are in place to preserve valuable data and to make them accessible.

Publishing data: motivations and constraints

Research funders and institutions should actively promote data publishing and re-use, with measures including career-related rewards to researchers who publish high-quality data, case studies on the benefits of doing so, support for researchers in developing sound data management plans, and strategies to address current skills gaps.

Discovery, access and usability of datasets

There is scope for publishers to promote ease of access and use of relevant data sets, and a need to clarify the current confusion over policies on access for text-mining tools. The take-up of Web 2.0 applications should be monitored and its implications considered.

Quality assurance

There is a need for further work on acceptable approaches to the formal assessment of datasets across the disciplinary spectrum.

Labels: , , , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home