No matter your field, we recommend that you share your research data. There are many ways you can achieve this. You can share data informally during a project (e.g. using emails or file sharing services); or you can share data formally at project end or at certain milestones via:
- Data repositories
- Data journals
- Supplementary material to publications.
Sharing and publishing data means that your peers will be able to discover your work more easily. Your data can be citable just like a publication, thanks to persistent identifiers. Moreover, you will enable others to replicate and validate your findings.
If you followed the previous steps carefully, sharing data will be easy. When depositing your data, you will need tidy files, in the right format and with appropriate documentation and metadata. If you haven’t done this in a structured way, odds are that gathering this information will be burdensome.
This is the stage where you have to consider what licence you want to apply to your data. This is essential, as picking the wrong licence might lead to your work being unusable.
In some cases you will not be allowed to share research data because of pre-existing terms and conditions or other legal obligations (e.g. concerns about national security, or commercial interests). If this is the case, this lifecycle step may not apply to your research.
It should be noted that publishing data is a complex undertaking, as it involves disciplinary norms, technical infrastructure, training and more – the Open Data Institute (ODI) released a report providing useful insights and recommendations for data publishers.