Briefing paper

Disciplinary differences in opening research data

Open access Big data Higher education Research Data management Europe
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This briefing paper presents the current state of open research data across academic disciplines. It describes disciplinary characteristics inhibiting a larger take - up of open research data mandates . Additionally, it presents the current strategies and policies established by funders, institutions, journals and data service providers alongside general data policies.

The management and widespread sharing of publicly funded research data has gained significant momentum 1 among governments, funders, institutions, journals and data service providers around the world, including the European Commission (EC), the United States, the OECD and the G8. Central is the idea that publicly funded open research data should be openly published, accessible and reusable with the least technical and legal restrictions possible, while protecting privacy, safety, and comme rcial interests.

Contrary to published re search outputs, research data are commonly understood as the raw material leading to scientific insights. The EC states in its “ Guidelines on Open Access to Scientific Publications and Research Data in Horizon 2020” that open access to research data allows to improve the quality of research results, helps to avoid duplication of effort, speeds up innovation and increases the transparency of the scientific process. However, there is no ‘ one - size - fits - all ’ approach to open research data across academic disciplines. Different disciplines produce different types of data and have various procedures for analysing, archiving and publishing it. Some have established data management procedures, norms or policies, making thei r research data open by default, while others do not. Manifold factors influence which data are opened to what degree in a specific discipline.

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