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Research data management

I created the data, why do I have to share them?

It is natural to be protective over your research data, especially if it has taken you a great deal of time and effort to collect/generate them. However, if a UK funding council funded your research, you are obliged to make your results and underlying evidence accessible to others.

Making your data findable online means that your research processes are transparent and your outputs are verifiable and replicable, thus demonstrating that your work is high-quality.  Your data will be appropriately licensed in the repository, meaning that if anyone wants to use it in any way, they will need to give you appropriate credit for your work.

Open data also means that future researchers will not need to duplicate expensive or time-consuming studies you have already undertaken in order to advance knowledge. This means that researchers with fewer resources (for example, in developing countries) will be able to build upon your work without the need to obtain large amounts of funding or have access to specialist equipment. 

What's in it for me?

Anyone using your data will need to credit you in the same way as if someone were making use of an article or monograph. As such, open research data has been linked to an increase in citations, research visibility and impact, and opens up the possibility of future collaborations to build upon initial studies.

You have the assurance that your research evidence is securely backed-up and filed with appropriate metadata, making it accessible for future re-use.

I want to patent my discovery and don't want anyone to steal my ideas.

Good Research Data Management doesn’t mean that you’ll forfeit your right to exclusive first use of your data.

Most funders allow you to embargo your results for a well-defined period of time to enable you to publish your findings and file any patents related to your research.

You will need to outline any proposed embargo periods at the beginning of your project in your Data Management Plan, and these proposed periods will need to be both justifiable and justified. 

I don't think I work with data - do I need to do anything?

Data refers to anything which underpins a research output, and can exist in any media.

‘Data’ includes things like audio-visual recordings, digital images, objects, software, interview transcripts, survey results, sketchbooks and lab notes, as well as Excel Spreadsheets and SPSS documents, so most researchers will work with data of some form.

If you have not created any new data as a result of your research, you do not need to upload your evidence to e-space.

However, you are obliged to include a data access statement on any published outputs that states that you have not created any new data. You should also include information about how to access any third-party data you may have used during your research.

My data are not interesting to anyone else.

The first and most important re-user of your data is you. Even if you believe that your data will be of little or no interest to others, storing your data in a secure repository ensures that you are able to retrieve and understand them if you wish to work on them in the future.

It is difficult to predict which data will be interesting or important to you or others in the future. For example, while old ship logbooks and gardener's notebooks may not seem immediately obvious sources of scientific data, they are currently being used by researchers investigating climate change.

For these reasons, you are required to deposit your research data with a responsible repository, whether or not you envisage them being of long-term value to the research community.

Can I store data recorded in a language other than English?

Yes, most repositories (including e-space) will accept data recorded in languages other than English, although English is preferred.