Research data remains a valuable resource, even after the life of the research project for which it was collected and used. Sharing the research outcomes enables future researchers to open up new lines of enquiry without the duplication of effort involved in collecting the data again.
Many research funders now encourage or require researchers to share data or information about data produced during funded research.
Researchers should have a plan for how and when their research data can be shared (if indeed it can be), what might limit or prohibit data sharing, and what can be done to enable other researchers to correctly cite data where it has been made available. Sometimes, there are reasons why your data should not be shared, for example:
- if your data has financial value or is the basis for potentially valuable patents
- if your data contain sensitive, personal information about human subjects and it may be illegal or unethical to share such data
- if parts of your data are owned by others, such as commercial entities or authors, you may not have rights to share the data
All such cases should be identified when writing a data management plan.
Depositing or creating a metadata record within the Royal Holloway Research Data Archive allows you to share your data or control access to it if required.
Sharing data with collaborators
Data can be shared via cloud storage services.
Before using cloud storage solutions, please consider:
- Confidential or sensitive data (such as that covered by the Data Protection Act) should not be stored in cloud services without additional security such as storing in an encrypted vault. You must not store personal, valuable or sensitive University information using cloud services except where an explicit contract is in place to ensure data security and regulatory compliance, or where approved additional security has been implemented.
- In general, personal use of cloud facilities such as Dropbox for simple document exchange and storage is acceptable as long as it is not the only copy of the data, i.e. it is backed up elsewhere as a precaution.
- Bear in mind that many of these cloud storage systems are based in the US and as such subject to US terms and conditions and jurisdiction, perhaps not always compatible with practice in the UK and Europe.
- Royal Holloway's Dropbox for Business data storage implementation is based entirely within the European Union (EU).
- Encryption of files prior to sharing improves the security of data.