Why share data?

Sharing research data has as benefits:

  • encouraging scientific enquiry and debate
  • promoting innovation and potential new data uses
  • new collaborations between data users and data creators
  • maximising transparency and accountability
  • scrutiny of research findings
  • the improvement and validation of research methods
  • reducing the cost of duplicating data collection
  • increasing the impact and visibility of research
  • credit for research outputs
  • likely to increase citation rates  
  • great resources for education and training
  • maximising return on investment for research funders and researchers

Journals and publishers increasingly require data that underpin publications to be shared or deposited within an accessible database or repository for analysis by readers.

Research Councils UK (RCUK) have prepared a set of common principles on data policy which provide an overarching framework for individual research councils.

The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) fully supports data sharing and was the first UK funding body to adopt a formal data sharing policy. ESRC award holders are contractually required to offer all created research data to the UK Data Service (or another responsible repository) for archiving and dissemination.

Many other funders such as the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), the Medical Research Council (MRC), the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Cancer Research UK and the Wellcome Trust have similar data policies that mandate or encourage researchers to share data.

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