To share or not to share: research data outputs

Added by Sarah on 17 June 2008

This report presents the findings from a study of whether or not researchers make their research data available to others, and the issues they encounter when doing so.

The study is set in a context where the amount of digital data being created and gathered by researchers is increasing rapidly. There is also a growing recognition by researchers, their employers and their funders, of the potential value in making new data available for sharing and in curating them for re-use in the long term.

Based on the results of more than 100 detailed interviews with researchers across eight subject areas, the report finds that realising the full potential of data requires further progress in data management policies and practice. It seeks to provide a clearer picture of how researchers are responding to data creation and use challenges. Are they making their data available and accessible to others, and what are the issues they are encountering when and if they do so?

The last two years have seen the development of policies from funders, both in the UK and internationally, seeking to optimise the value and the use of data produced during the course of research that they fund. Both policy and researchers? practice continue to evolve, and this study should be seen as a picture of current activity that will change further in the future.

Hard copies of the briefing are available, email

© Research Information Network 2005–2009