Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Research Data Management (RDM): Publishing your data

Introduction

For several decades, specifically in the field of science, a new model for how to carry out research has been proposed. It is encouraged that data be openly shared with the community with the purpose of advancing scientific progress. Many institutions have joined the cause and, since 2013, agencies that provide funds for research in the United States, such as the DOD, DOT, IMLS, NSF, NOAA, NIH, and USGS, among others, require data to be published. Countless academic journals, such as Nature, PLOS, Science, APA journals, and others, have joined in, requiring their authors to share their research data along with the publication.

Who benefits from the publication of data

There are many who benefit when you share your research data:

  • Creator / Researcher
    • Your data is stored in a secure place and you can access it many years after your research project has ended. 
    • You obtain acknowledgment from other researchers for the collection of data.
  • Funding agencies 
    • Reuse of data saves money and facilitates investigative advancement by avoiding duplication. 
    • The benefits of providing funds for research are more clearly demonstrated when data is used for multiple studies. 
  • Academic journals
    • The data necessary for others to replicate research projects is provided along with the articles. 
    • The availability of data helps determine if an author has incurred in fraud or other types of research misconduct, limiting the publication of articles containing information that could prove harmful to the community.  
  • Researcher community 
    • The data can be used in new and diverse research projects.
    • More details about how a study was conducted are provided.
    • The availability of data sets can promote collaboration between researchers who conduct similar studies. 

What data should be shared?

Researchers are encouraged to make the following data available: 

  • Data that is necessary to validate and reproduce the research project 
  • Data that might have value beyond your research project. 
  • Unique data, in other words, data that cannot be recreated or collected at a later time. 
  • Data required to be disseminated by agencies and academic journals.

In 2014, the publishing company Wiley conducted a study about national and international tendencies regarding publication of data. To see the details in depth, click on the image below.

Meadows, A. (2014). To share or not to share? That is the (research data) question… The Scholarly Kitchen. Retrieved from https://scholarlykitchen.sspnet.org/2014/11/11/to-share-or-not-to-share-that-is-the-research-data-question

Steps to follow to share your data

Some of the main reasons why you should share data. 

open

  • Stimulates the scientific process and scientific debate
  • Allows for innovative reuse of your data 
  • Generates collaborative opportunities between creators and new users  
  • Enhances transparency and responsibility in the research process 
  • Supports and encourages scrutiny of research results 
  • Fosters validation and improvement of research methods 
  • Saves the cost of duplicating data collection 
  • Increases the impact and visibility of research work 
  • Allows more detailed understanding of research processes and results 
  • Direct credit is given to researchers who compiled the data 
  • Data sets are seen as products in their own right and as contributions to the research ecosystem 
  • Allows access to important resources for education and training

Follow these recommendations to share your data: 

  • Identify what you can and cannot do with your data 
    • Read agency mandates, journal policies, etc. 
  • Look for a repository to deposit your data 
    • The repository that you pick must be adequate for your type of data and your needs 
  • Prepare your data
    • Determine who has rights over the data
    • Clean and document your data so that others can use them efficiently
    • Use standard file formats that are open and widely accepted 
    • Assign a license so that others know how they can use your data 
  • Deposit your data 
    • Obtain a DOI so that your data has a persistent unique identifier
    • Establish a citation for your data 
  • Write and article about your data to obtain more visibility

Publication: Make your data known (accepted) 

  • As part of your article
  • In a poster or conference 
  • With a link to supplementary material

Repository: Expand its reach (recommended)

  • A repository dedicated to your discipline 
  • From a public institution 
  • General use 

Data journal: Complement your efforts  

  • Write a descriptive article about the collected data

What you should consider before sharing your data

Although it is recommended to share your data whenever possible, you should consider certain elements before doing so:

  • Carefully read the mandates from the agencies that funded your project and the policies of the academic journal you wish to publish in.  
  • Verify that your data does not contain information that is private, personally identifiable, sensitive, related to a possible patent, confidential, or that must not be disseminated due to commercial reasons.