Knowledge Exchange publishes study

Sowing the seed

Incentives and motivations for sharing research data: a researchers’ perspective

By Veerle Van den Eynden and Libby Bishop, UK Data Archive, University of Essex

The study

This qualitative study, commissioned by Knowledge Exchange, has gathered evidence, examples and opinions on current and future incentives for research data sharing from the researchers’ point of view, in order to provide recommendations for policy and practice development on how best to incentivize data access and re-use.

The findings

The study identified six different modes of data sharing.  These modes varied by scale, from private to public, and also by more or less formal mechanisms used to share data.
The study shines new light on motivations for researchers to share research data (1) as essential part of the research process; (2) to boost career perspectives; (3) to comply with the norms; and (4) in response to external drivers such as funder and publisher expectations, policies, infrastructure and data services. Role and impact of discipline norms, a researcher’s career trajectory, formal data policies, and training are examined. Recommendations are made to stakeholders to improve and increase research data sharing practice.

Read and sow the seed

Research Funders will learn why and how to realise a level playing field with regards to data sharing, investing in policies, support services, legal clarity, reward and peer review systems for reuse and more.
Learned Societies will find reasons to take responsibility regarding formal research recognition, codes of conduct and best practice codes, and development of data sharing resources, agreements and standards.
Research Institutions will read how they can increase and enhance data sharing practice by a formal focus on recognition of the value of data, on career advancement and training, and data management services.
Publishers can catalyse data sharing practice by sharing metrics on data citation and data sharing, supporting micro-publishing, set open standards for data and file formats, properly instructing editors and reviewers.
Data Centres and Repositories may develop pull factors: invite data sets to be deposited, enhance and rank quality; offer training (IP, metadata, etc.); provide access to combinations of research data and publication.

Incentivise Research Data Sharing

Incentives and motivations ask for development of a data infrastructure with rich context where research data, papers and other outputs or resources are jointly available within a single data resource. Different types of data sharing and research disciplines need to be acknowledged. This study helps stakeholders to understand and act.

The study can be found at

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