Open scientific knowledge cannot rely on publications with closed data, as science is fundamentally based on openness and transparency. Whenever possible, research data should be collected and made available in a way that allows its use of by those who have not collected it.

World countries and national scientific communities are different in their research infrastructures and in their data sharing cultures. What is common to all governments is the need to support cost-effective research with high scientific quality.

Well planned data management and data sharing walk hand in hand with such aims. Providing open data maximizes its use, and controls the quality of research. International cooperation can help governments and national scientific communities to develop appropriate data sharing infrastructures and practices cost-effectively. For experts working with social sciences, communities like the IASSIST provide good opportunities for newcomers to get to know people and practices in this area.

Usually the best way to share data is to publish it with the help of established data archives and data services. Good data sharing practices guarantee proper data documentation and dissemination of data to secondary users with sufficient guidance.

Well developed standards of data documentation, data citation, and researchers’ resumés allow primary users and other data producers to specify their merits and ownership of data. Secondary users of data are expected to credit the original data producers by citing their data. The best way to allow this is publishing data with well developed standards.

Technological development and demands of efficiency in public investments have boosted open data initiatives during recent years. International organizations, national science policy makers, research funding agencies, as well as publishers of research results have introduced data policies favorable for data sharing.

IFDO points out key resources to keep on track with data sharing, and monitor national data policies especially related to social sciences and humanities.

Sources/Recommended Reading:

UK/JISC: Comparative Study of International Approaches to Enabling the Sharing of Research Data (2008)

OECD Principles and Guidelines for Access to Research Data from Public Funding (2007)

Riding the wave. How Europe can gain from the rising tide of scientific data. Final report of the High Level Expert Group on Scientific Data, A submission to the European Commission, October 2010.

NSF: Dissemination and Sharing of Research Results

ICPSR at 50: Facilitating Research and Data Sharing

Data sharing and the Council of European Social Science Data Archives (CESSDA)

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