At the end of your project, you’ll need to consider how to archive and share your data for use by other researchers.
Sharing data with other researchers (outside of your project team) is accepted practice in some disciplines and more unusual in others, in part due to legal and ethical issues surrounding the data. For example, your data may contain personally identifiable or commercially sensitive information or the intellectual property may be owned by a third party. Funding bodies and publishers recognise these issues, but nonetheless expect data to be made available to support original research articles where possible.
It is advisable to plan from the beginning to redact, anonymise or de-identify your data if you know these issues would otherwise prevent you from sharing them. Some funders permit costs for handling this data to be included in the grant application, so it is advisable to include (and justify) a suitable amount of staff time to perform these tasks in your funding application. More information on how to anonymise or redact sensitive data can be found at the UK Data Service website and at the Irish Qualitative Data Archive.
The final decision on how long you think this process would take will be determined by the grant applicants and assessed as part of the peer review of the grant application by colleagues in the field.
Putting your data in a repository is more reliable than putting it on a project or SGUL website, as it will be more discoverable (through the use of persistent identifiers such as DOIs and open access standards). It will also show how many times it has been downloaded and in many cases, will ensure its long term preservation by running automated checks on its ‘digital health’. For example, it may be in a file format that will become at risk of becoming obsolete after ten years due to changes in common file formats.
The Wellcome Trust maintains a list of data repositories and database resources covering: nucleotide, genome, protein and macromolecular structures, microarray, proteomics, social sciences and humanities databases, as well as bacterial and virus collections. There are also data collections and repositories listed by the BBSRC for biotechnological and biological sciences research. There are also general biomedical and life sciences repositories such as Dryad and figshare. Not all repositories are free, so if you anticipate depositing with a paid service, you may wish to include this fee in your grant application.
Archiving data is not the same as backing it up – once you have identified datasets that you may not need to view regularly but want to retain, the SGUL RDM Service can help you transfer these files to a secure location. These files will be subject to automated digital preservation checks, to ensure that they are not becoming obsolete or degraded. Archiving data you no longer need on a regular basis will also free up space in your active data storage for your next project.
Currently the SGUL RDM Service is unable to digitise any data that is in an analogue or physical format for digital preservation. There may be some funding schemes available to assist with such projects, but these require careful consideration of all research data management issues, such as how to ensure the digitised version of the data is made discoverable and interrogated.
Last Updated: Tuesday, 07 February 2017 13:42