Why should I share research data?

There are many advantages to sharing data, both for individual researchers and for society in general.

The conditions for data sharing differ between scientific disciplines, mostly due to the type of data involved. In some fields data sharing is already well established, whereas other fields are facing serious challenges in developing processes for managing research data.

Here are some of the advantages of sharing research data:

  • Reusing data saves times and resources. This facilitates effective use of research funds.
  • Researchers whose data get cited or downloaded can use that as a measure of impact apart from publications.
  • Shared data can be checked, which means data quality can be increased. This in turn increases research transparency, which is a good for the reliability of scientific studies.
  • It opens up new possibilities for national and international scientific cooperation.
  • Research data gets safely stored long term and so remains accessible even if local storage should fail.
  • Users outside the research community get access to research data, which could contribute to new discoveries, increased curiosity and debate.

There can also be reasons not to share research data, including:

  • The data contains personal details or other sensitive information.
  • The data is copyrighted by another party.
  • Ethics concerns, including study participants not having given consent for sharing.
  • The data contains proprietary or financial information.