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Research Data

Opening and Sharing Data

Why share research data?

Research information belongs to everybody. Research information contains both research publications and data. Open science benefits individual researchers, science communities, funders as well as the entire society.

Benefits for the researcher

  • Open publications are cited more often. Publications that contain also the background data of the research are cited more often than publications whose background data is not open (e.g. PeerJ 2013).
  • The researcher receives feedback for their data from other research more easily.

Benefits for the scientific community

  • Use of open, existing data speeds up and enhances research. Previously collected data can be reused.
  • Sharing data brings guarantees of the durability of the data after individual research projects are completed.
  • Open and easy availability improves the innovativeness of research, networking within and between disciplines and the recognition of researchers.
  • Open data can evoke new discussion or research paths.

Benefits for funders

  • It is easier to direct resources to appropriate targets when the funder is aware what data already exists.
  • If forgery or plagiarism is suspected, data is available for evaluation.
  • In addition to scientific publications, funders can take into account the researcher's merits in producing data.

What to Consider When Sharing Data?

  • Take the sharing of data into consideration already at the beginning of the research project. Drafting a data management plan helps in this. More information can be found on the data management planning tab of this guide.
  • Consider the legal and ethical issues related to the research at the beginning of project. Discuss and agree within the research group who owns the data. If necessary, you can ask for assistance from the legal unit in the Research Services. At the University of Turku, you can contact the lawyers at the Research Services by sending email to legal@utu.fi. The goal should be that the data can be shared with the Creative Commons BY 4.0  license recommended by the Open Science and Research Initiative. More information on the Legal Issues tab.
  • Consider the file formats and naming practices.
  • Consider where you will store the research data after the research process ends.

Metadata

High-quality metadata is like a business card for research and the researcher. Metadata always contains the data's

  • title
  • time of production
  • producer
  • format
  • topic
  • right of use.

Metadata can also include explanations of code, information on data analysis as well as on the research project and producers of the data. There are several different standards for metadata, depending on the file format and field of research:

Tools for creating metadata:

More information can also be found in t the Finnish Social Science Data Archive Handbook and in guidance "Making research project understandable". MIT Libraries has also collected instructions on creating metadata.

Publication of Data or Metadata

Research data or metadata can be published in different ways:

  1. Data archives make it possible to also open data. Further information on data storage and  a list compiled by the IT Services (in Finnish) are available on the University’s web and intranet pages.
  2. In order to open the data, it can also be shared in the so-called data journals. The Finnish Committee for Research Data keeps a list of online academic data journals.
  3. In order to open metadata, use Qvain-service. Qvain is a tool to create and publish the metadata for your research dataset. 
  4. Data or metadata can be published also on the website of the research project

Funders' Requirements for Open Data

Finnish funders

International funders

Open Notebook Science

Open notebook science means that a research project is made public already when it is being conducted. Open research or laboratory notebooks detail the different phases of data collection, measurements etc. The goal is to ensure the transparency of research.

Ordinary web sites or different kinds of social media services can be used as practical tools. Documents can be shared in different cloud services, e.g. with Seafile cloud service. Instructions available on the IT Services of the University of Turku.