Benefits of managing research data

(Text adapted from Research Data: Unseen Opportunities, Canadian Association of Research Libraries and the Research Data Bootcamp, University of Bristol, UK)

There are many compelling reasons why research data should be managed and shared:

It accelerates scientific progress – The sound management of research data allows researchers to access and understand others’ data and re-use them for their own scientific purposes, thereby speeding up the rate of new discoveries.

It improves research efficiency – Good research data management will enable you to organize your files and data for access and analysis without difficulty. Consider for instance what would happen if a member of a research team were to leave during the course of a particular project. Well managed research data helps newcomers to understand the nature and the extent of work done so far. Well managed data also helps individual researchers track the course of their own progress.

It increases the visibility and impact of research – Data made visible through a data repository can dramatically increase the impact of that research. Sharing research data has been associated with increased citation rates. For example, a study of citation rates for cancer clinical trials publications conducted by Piwowar et. al found clinical trials that shared their data were cited about 70% more frequently than clinical trials that did not.

It ensures compliance with funding agency policies – A growing number of funding agencies demand that researchers and host institutions retain, manage and share their data upon completion of a research project. Thus, universities and researchers have legal and ethical obligations to provide a legacy of research data. Some publishers also require that the data connected to their publications are preserved.

It avoids duplication of research – When a dataset is publicly available it is much less likely to be recreated, avoiding expensive and needless data collection/production activities.

It ensures research integrity and validation of results – Accurate and complete research data are an essential part of the evidence necessary for evaluating and validating research results and for reconstructing the events and processes leading to them.



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