Why manage and share research data?

Emphasis is no longer solely on the findings that are generated from research, but also the research data itself.

Applications for public research funding must include a data management plan. If the application is successful the contract is likely to include stipulations on how you store, archive and share the research data.

Aside from meeting funder requirements in a competitive environment, there are many benefits to managing your research data effectively:

  • Storing data securely during the project will minimise the risk of data loss, ensure version control and make it easier for researchers to share data throughout the project
  • Well organised data ensures that the quality of data remains reliable and retrievable
  • Compliance with funder mandates in terms of planning, storage and archiving
  • Compliance with the University of Liverpool’s commitment to Research Excellence


Why Share Data

There are many benefits in sharing your data.

Maximising impact of research
    • The more widely available your research data is, the more impact it will have. Open data can be viewed by a more extensive audience than previously and this means that its impact may extend further in the academic community, as well as being more likely to influence society both nationally and internationally.

Increased citation rates
    • Making data available for other researchers to use increases the likelihood of it being cited. A study by PLOS One found that making data publicly available resulted in a 69% increase in citations. Web of Science also provides the Data Citation Index.

Economic benefit of not duplicating
    • Safely preserved, well documented research ensures that you will be able to use it in future years.  In addition, other researchers who work within the same area are less likely to spend unnecessary time and effort duplicating something that has already been done.

Improved transparency and accountability
    • An increase in openness in research data will strengthen the integrity of the results. Unfortunate cases where research data has been fabricated can damage the credibility of research, but by permitting independent validation high levels of accountability, reliability and transparency are ensured.

New collaborations and insights
    • Looking at pre-existing data may present new ideas and potential opportunities. Those who have overlapping research interests may have a heightened awareness of your work through shared data and these may lead to new collaborations.

Much depends on the nature and the circumstances under which your data is created as to what, how and when you share all, part or none of your data. As a rule of thumb, however, if you can share your data, ask yourself what data and metadata another researcher would need to make use of your results.