Combining results from bibliometric analyses, a global sample of researcher opinions and case-study interviews, a new report reveals that although the benefits of open research data are well known, in practice, confusion remains within the researcher community around when and how to share research data.
The report, "Open Data: The Researcher Perspective", is the result of a year-long, co-conducted study between Elsevier, the information analytics company specializing in science and health, and the Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS), part of Leiden University, the Netherlands.
The study is based on a complementary methods approach consisting of a quantitative analysis of bibliometric and publication data, a global survey of 1200 researchers and three case studies including in-depth interviews with key individuals involved in data collection, analysis and deposition in the fields of soil science, human genetics and digital humanities.
Report findings include the following:
Wouter Haak, Vice-President of Research Data Management Solutions at Elsevier, stated: "The findings presented in this report help us as well as research leaders, university and government policy makers - better understand where pain points lie when it comes to the sentiment around and the reality of data sharing practices among researchers. These are invaluable insights for us to ensure researchers are given the tools and knowledge they need to successfully share their data."
Paul Wouters, Director of CWTS and Professor of Scientometrics, stated: "The science system is undergoing a major transition: from a professional system where the researcher is in the lead, to an open innovation system with multiple stakeholders. One of the ambitions in the Dutch National Plan Open Science is to make research data available in a standardized way for reuse. The study presented here shows that this reality is still far away. It calls for stronger incentives and rewards to implement open data practices. It is time we address the fundamental questions around accessibility in order to be responsible to society. CWTS will continue to raise these issues."
The report and key findings have been presented at the Research Data Alliance conference (RDA) in Barcelona on April 7, 2017.
The report and all underling report raw data are freely available .