October 25, 2019, by Communications

Open Access week 2019 : Open science data?

So far this week, I’ve been writing about open access publishing of academic manuscripts. But the data itself behind those articles is an increasingly important community resource.

Open science data promotes public access to observations and results of scientific activities so that anyone can analyse and reuse, without restrictions from copyright, patents or other controls. A major drive towards open data is to allow the verification of scientific claims, by allowing others to look at the reproducibility of results and to allow data from many sources to be integrated through data searching and mining tools to create new knowledge. The issue of open data has attracted attention in recent years after high-profile claims of a reproducibility crisis in experimental findings.

Relation to open access

Wednesday’s blog on Creative Commons Licensing emphasised sharing and adapting work from the perspective of written text. Note that these licences don’t explicitly refer to the data contained within or accompanying the publication. This can result in lack of clarity where some publishers have open access policies where they require assignment of the copyright, but where it is unclear that the data associated with the publication can be truly regarded as open data. And for some scholarly journals, data tables provided by the authors as a supplement to an article are still available only to the journal subscribers.

Publisher commitments

The Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers and the STM Association recognise that data is a major output of research and that the raw data outputs of research, and sets of that data which are submitted with a journal article, should wherever possible be made freely accessible to other scholars. But there is more work to be done before submitting data is commonplace.

Many scholarly journals do not host data, but instead require datasets to be submitted to an appropriate public data repository.

Nottingham research data management repository

There is a range of discipline-specific repositories. However, the University of Nottingham provides a single centrally administered repository for managing all its anonymised research data. Like Nottingham ePrints, this service is managed and curated by Libraries, Research & Learning Resources, in the UK.

The research data repository ensures that the published anonymised data fulfils the data governance, preservation, accessibility and discoverability policy as defined by many funders and publishers. You can access this service by logging in with your University username and password no matter which campus you are working. For each dataset, a datacite DOI is issued by this service.

For more details please refer to the RKE handbook.

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