Incentivising data sharing

4 November, 2011

The theme for #rdmf7 was incentivising data management and sharing. We had an impressive line up of speakers, matched by an equally exciting and engaged audience.

Mark Thorley gave an great keynote to get us started. He argued that there are lots of small problems stacked up that need to be overcome and that these centre on people and relationships. It’s often a matter of human issues rather than technical challenges.

Cameron Neylon meanwhile made the case that impact is all about reuse. He argued that researchers are willing to share data and often do insanely difficult things to achieve this when the right rewards are in place. He also recommended people try out which looks great.

Lots of practical examples were given from funder, information professional and researcher perspectives. The Malaria Altlas Project in particular gave great examples of how they’ve encouraged and facilitated data sharing.

Several interesting propositions emerged in discussion:

  • Adopt a multi-level curation model where some things get basic storage & preservation (e.g. data needed for validation) and others get higher degrees of curation to add value (e.g. those with the most re-use potential)
  • HEIs to maintain a register of what data they own and where it is held to keep control in the mixed environment of disciplinary/institutional data centres
  • Develop a ‘Data Seal of Approval’ for institutional/departmental RDM
  • Include a field for funders in metadata so they can track research outputs more easily and not rely on researchers / ROs informing them
  • Add a component to DMPonline to estimate RDM costs. NERC is interested in collaborating with us on this.

Lots for DCC and others to be working on!

There’s no magic formula or simple steps to take, but based on all the presentations and discussion it seems that:

if you work with people and give them the right rewards, more data will be shared

Suggest themes you’d like to see addressed at the next RDMF in the comments!


Front page image: 'Sharing' by furiousgeorge81. CC-BY-NC-ND