LOVE YOUR DATA Day 4 – Data Shhharing

Post by Tiffany Grant PhD, Research Informationist based at Donald C. Harrison Health Sciences Library

Data Shhharing

“Data” and “sharing” are two words that we don’t like to juxtapose in the scientific community. I mean, who wants to share their hard earned data? It’s the equivalent of sharing ones salary with the world- a group of strangers. The data generated via the scientific process is extremely personal, and is intrinsic to the life and legacy of the researchers who create it. Researchers don’t have a problem with publishing their work once completed, as it adds to their scientific credibility. But, therein lies the problem. Publication does not always equal access.

It is the publisher, not the researcher who owns the rights to the articles published in their journals. Access to these journals typically only comes through a paid subscription. So, while researchers can often get access to journals through their institution, access is not granted to all without paying for individual articles at a time, a process which can prove quite costly. Thus paying for access to online content makes sense only to publishers who profit from it. But, as a researcher, do you really want your hard work under this veil? Is that really what you worked for?

SPARC is an organization committed to “making “Open” the default for research and education”. SPARC defines open access as the “free, immediate, online availability of research articles, coupled with the rights to use these articles fully in the digital environment.” SPARC asserts in its open access factsheet (a great read, by the way) that “research can only advance by sharing the results, and the value of an investment in research is only maximized through wide use of its results. The PLOS journals have used this strategy rather effectively from the beginning, with resounding success. PLOS applies the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license to works they publish. This license facilitates open access by allowing free, immediate and unrestricted reuse of original works.


Benefits of Open Access Research (according to PLOS)

  1. Accelerated discovery. With open access, researchers can read and build on the findings of others without restriction.


  1. Public enrichment. Much scientific and medical research is paid for with public funds. Open Access allows taxpayers to see the results of their investment.


  1. Improved education. Open Access means that teachers and their students have access to the latest research findings throughout the world.


“Federal funding agencies and publishers are encouraging, and sometimes requiring, researchers to share data that have been created with public funds”. There are a number of ways to comply with these requirements, and the University of Cincinnati along with UC Libraries have provided a way to make this process rather seamless. Scholar@uc is the University of Cincinnati’s digital repository. “A digital repository makes accessible, enables re-use, stores, organizes and preserves the full range of an institution’s intellectual output, including all formats of scholarly, historical and research materials. Faculty and researchers can use Scholar@UC to collect their work in one location and create an Internet-enabled, durable and citable record of their papers, presentations, publications, data sets or other scholarly creations.” A link to find out more information about Scholar@UC is included below.


Good Practices

  1. Share your data upon publication.
  2. Share your data in an open, accessible, and machine readable format (e.g., csv vs. xlsx, odf vs. docx, etc.)
  3. Deposit your data in a subject or institutional repository so your colleagues can find and use it.
  4. Deposit your data in your institution’s repository to enable long term preservation.
  5. License your data so people know what they can do with it.
  6. Tell people how to cite your data.
  7. When choosing a repository, ask about the support for tracking its use. Do they provide a handle or DOI? Can you see how many views and downloads? Is it indexed by Google, Google Scholar, the Data Citation Index?


Think of it this way. We are all literally in the same boat, and our goal is to forward research. Your paddle is your individual contribution to the effort. We will all get there faster, with much more efficiency if we all contribute and row in the same direction. Who doesn’t want to get there faster?


References and Tools

  1. Read more about Scholar@UC at this link:


  1. SPARC’s Open Access Factsheet:


  1. PLOS’s case for Open Access:


  1. LYD: Respect your Data – Give & Get Credit:





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