Sharing of research data – a study among researchers at UMB
Keywords:sharing research data
Digital research data collected in the sciences has the potential to be reused and shared openly. Several arguments for such sharing have come forward both from funders and researchers during the last decade. This study investigates the attitudes towards such reuse along with current traditions for sharing, reuse and the storage of research data in the universities, particularly the Life Sciences in Norway. A survey has been conducted among researchers at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (UMB) collecting data on various aspects of the ‘researcher – research’ data relationship.
The two main focuses are practical issues regarding storage, sharing and reuse of research data and perspectives on the future of data sharing, issues regarding publishing channels and the usage of online research collaboratories are also covered. The research aims to create an understanding of how researchers handle the data they collect, how they retrieve research data for reuse from other sources and how they imagine the future potential of data sharing was explored trough the research question “What are the attitudes and experience with data sharing among the researchers at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences?”
In order to uncover attitudes and experience with data sharing the collected data has been analyzed according to years of experience, research field and previous experience with data sharing, as well as compared with data from previous studies in the field. These comparisons led to an understanding of which factors influence the researchers’ opinion or experience. Through the study it was found to be large differences according to years of experience in how the researchers see data sharing, this presentation will focus on that aspect.
The study concludes that the processes of data sharing are far from optimized as researchers today primarily retrieve data from colleagues and a collegial network for data exchange takes time to establish. For the researchers to be willing to share their data certain criteria such as first publication and accreditation for reuse must be fulfilled, in addition, the fears among the researchers for misuse must be taken into account. The attitude among the researchers towards making data openly available depends much on where the researchers are in their careers. PhD students are the most positive ones towards sharing their research data openly, whereas the researchers with 5 to 10 years of experience are the least positive ones. As the researchers become more experienced they again turn to be more positive towards giving open access to the research data they collect. This is likely to reflect how the ambition to become famous is a key motivation for the researchers, and strongly present in the early stages in the career, and then gradually become less important as the researchers gain experience.
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