2 April 2019
'Five Essential Factors for Data Sharing', a white paper published by Springer Nature, aims to translate findings about researcher attitudes and behaviours into concrete measures that should accelerate data sharing. The white paper builds on a number of reports published in 2018 that pinpoint challenges researchers face when sharing data. The barriers identified include, for example, how to organise data in a presentable and useful way, confusion about copyright, and not knowing where data can be shared.
The white paper summarises the five essential factors to accelerate data sharing as:
- clear policy, from funders, institutions, journals, publishers, and research communities. Setting unambiguous and specific requirements for data management and sharing to lead to a shift in researcher behaviour.
- better credit, to make data sharing worth a researcher’s time. With more formal recognition through data citations, authorship, inclusion in research assessments, and career advancement, data sharing will increase.
- explicit funding, for data management and data sharing, as well as data publishing. Policy without access to dedicated funding to enable compliance is unlikely to result in increased data sharing.
- practical help, for organising data, finding appropriate repositories and provision of faster, easier routes to share data. The majority of researchers don’t know how or where to make their research data available.
- training and education, to answer common questions from researchers on data sharing and help build skills and knowledge. Communicating the benefits of best data practice and addressing common areas of concern.
Iain Hrynaszkiewicz, Head of Data Publishing at Springer Nature, said, “None of these essential factors can be solved by one stakeholder alone: we must act together, and we must act now, to encourage data sharing across discipline and geographic boundaries. Support from all stakeholders – funders, institutions, publishers, and the wider research community – could make all the difference.”
The white paper and its underlying data are freely available via the figshare repository.