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ResourcesHuman Research EthicsWhat factors do scientists perceive as promoting or hindering scientific data reuse? – LSE Impact Blog (Renata Gonçalves Curty, et al | March 2018)

Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

What factors do scientists perceive as promoting or hindering scientific data reuse? – LSE Impact Blog (Renata Gonçalves Curty, et al | March 2018)

 


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Increased calls for data sharing have formed part of many governments’ agendas to boost innovation and scientific development. Data openness for reuse also resonates with the recognised need for more transparent, reproducible science. But what are scientists’ perceptions about data reuse? Renata Gonçalves Curty, Kevin Crowston, Alison Specht, Bruce W. Grant and Elizabeth D. Dalton make use of existing survey data to analyse the attitudes and norms affecting scientists’ data reuse. Perceived efficiency, efficacy, and trustworthiness are key; as is whether scientists believe data reuse is beneficial for scientific development, or perceive certain pressures contrary to the reuse of data. Looking ahead, synthesis centres can be important for supporting data-driven interdisciplinary collaborations, and leveraging new scientific discoveries based on pre-existing data.

There can be real societal benefits from data sharing, which is among the reasons why many research funding bodies require (or at least encourage) funded researchers to share their data. But it is not without its research ethics and research integrity challenges. The idea of sharing can be a source of disquiet for some researchers. Understanding why, and supporting practice in this area would increase the amount of data that is shared. We have gathered here a list of resource items about data sharing.

“If I have seen further, it was by standing upon the shoulders of giants.” This quote, attributed to Sir Isaac Newton, expresses the cumulative and synergistic nature of the growth of science. Intellectual progress and major scientific achievements are built upon the contributions of previous thinkers and discoveries. Thus the scientific enterprise thrives upon openness and collaboration.
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The unrestricted sharing of research outputs is increasingly seen as critical for scientific progress. The calls for data sharing in particular, aligned with investment in infrastructures for housing research data, have been part of many governments’ agendas to boost innovation and scientific development, while optimising resources. The ability of researchers to access and build upon previous knowledge has thus evolved from elementary access to final published manuscripts and research reports, to the capability of accessing different outputs produced throughout the research lifecycle, including digital data files.
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There have been a number of promising developments in funding bodies’ policies promoting and requesting compliance with data sharing requirements to ensure preservation and access to scientific data for further reuse. In the US, the Data Observation Network for Earth (DataONE), supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF), is committed to broadening education on data-related issues (e.g. data documentation, data citation), as well as to provide standards/guidelines and sustainable cyberinfrastructure to secure openness, persistence, robustness, findability, and accessibility to environmental science data

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