Sharing and disseminating data

How disseminating your research data can increase the impact of your research; disseminating through data archives and repositories.

In Australia, the Code for Responsible Conduct of Research suggests that researchers should share data whenever possible.

Thinking about how to share your data with the right people at the right time is an important part of the data planning process. There are a number of reasons you should consider making your data available:

  • The Code for Responsible Conduct of Research encourages you to make your data available to other researchers.

  • Some funding agencies, especially in the UK and the US, will require you to make your data available, and may check your track record of data sharing before awarding further grants.

  • In Australia, the Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Projects funding rules encourage researchers to deposit their data in a repository or archive: if you do not intend to deposit data within six months you will have to provide an explanation in the project's Final Report.

  • A similar approach is taken by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Project Grants Funding Policy for research. The NHMRC's position seems likely to strengthen as it is has recently become a signatory to the Joint Statement on Data Sharing of Public Health Research, a commitment by medical research councils around the world to responsible sharing of public health data.

  • Evidence is emerging that open access to data can increase citation rates. Many studies have shown a correlation between open access to copies of published articles and citation impact, and similar studies are now beginning to be conducted on the sharing of supporting research datasets. One such study    (Piwowar et al, 2007) looked at the citation history of cancer microarray clinical trial publications. The authors found that publicly available data was associated with a 69% increase in citations, independent of    journal impact factor, date of publication, and author country of origin. As another example, a study (Henneken & Accomazzi, 2011) of astronomical science articles with linked data(analysis of more that    7,000 articles over a ten year period), evidenced an increase of 20% more citations compared to articles without these links.

  • Data in raw and visualised forms can add interest to your publications and conference presentations.

  • Audiences for your work may be available outside of the research sector. Consider, for example, if your work would be of interest to policy makers, not for profit agencies, the commercial sector or the general public.

Before sharing data during a project or after the project is finished, you need to make sure that you have considered the implications of doing so, in terms of copyright and IP ownership, and ethical requirements like privacy and confidentiality.

Archives and repositories

Depositing data in a repository or archive is one way of ensuring your data can be accessed and cited in the long term, and may be a requirement for funding or publishing your research. Most repositories and archives have requirements that depositors must meet, and you should consider these as part  of data planning.

Approaches to depositing data vary. Some disciplines have a long history of providing open access to data, while in others, access to data has tended to be limited to the researcher or group of researchers who have generated it.

Repositories and archives differ in their requirements depending on the discipline and the types of research data that they are able to accommodate. It is common for repositories and archives to specify some or all of the following:

  • preferred data formats that meet open standards and facilitate long-term access and preservation

  • minimum standards for documentation and metadata, to enhance the discoverability and usability of the data

  • assurances from you, as the depositor, that storing the data and making it available will not infringe upon the copyright or intellectual property of other parties or the privacy and confidentiality of any of the research participants

  • use of licences or agreements to facilitate re-use of the data (e.g. open access, open access following a time-limited embargo, closed access requiring negotiation with the depositor etc).

Identifying a suitable repository for your data and discussing requirements with the repository staff is a valuable part of data planning.

Data repositories hosted at Monash University

Institutional data repository: monash.figshare

The Monash University Research Repository is a collaborative data repository for Monash University researchers and graduate research students.

  • monash.figshare ensures Monash University researchers and graduate research students retain full control over their research outputs
  • monash.figshare allows Monash University researchers and graduate research students to upload any file format which may be visualised in the browser so that figures, datasets, media, posters, presentations and filesets can be disseminated in a way that the current scholarly publishing model does not allow
  • monash.figshare allows Monash University researchers and graduate research students to describe their own research
  • monash.figshare research outputs are published with a Digital Object Identifier (DOI), allowing other researchers to cite the output

Submitting Your Research

Monash.figshare aims to promote the research output of the University. Monash University researchers and graduate research students. are encouraged to contribute and publish their research data and files.

Research publications

Records for all publications collected by the Research Office and the Faculties for HERDC and ERA are loaded into the Research Repository annually. To make your publication available as Open Access, please consult with your Faculty research office. For more information  on making your publication Open Access refer to the Monash University Copyright intranet FAQs on this subject.

ARC / NHMRC compliance

The Research Repository is working with the Research  Office and Faculties on complying with the NHMRC and ARC policies regarding open access. For information on how to comply, refer to Research Administration: Open Access Policies.

Research data

Describe your Research Data Collections to facilitate discovery, sharing, and improve research impact. For information on describing and storing your data, refer to: Monash.fishare

Theses

Please go to the Theses: Submission Library guide for current instructions on submitting your Monash University thesis.

All  Monash doctoral candidates (with some exceptions) are required to submit an eThesis at the conclusion of their examination. All other candidates are invited to submit voluntarily. Please refer to Monash University Institute of Graduate Research: eThesis Submission for more information.

Contacts

The Library wants to increase the amount of research data in monash.figshare, and will work with Monash University researchers and graduate research students to achieve this. Email: researchdata@monash.edu

The Library can also provide advice on digitising non-digital research data and referrals to external providers of digitisation services. Email: researchdata@monash.edu

Additional Monash developed data archives and repositories

Store.Monash

Store.Monash was created at Monash University as a web application geared towards receiving data from scientific instruments such as microscopes at Monash University. Store.Monash also allows researchers to cite their data.

MyTardis has been expanded into deployments that fulfil the data management needs of researchers in areas such as: microscopy, microanalysis, particle physics, next-gen sequencing and medical imaging - deployed across more than 10 universities and research institutions  in Australia.

OzFlux Repository

The OzFlux repostiory, built on the Eddy (eResearch Distributed Data System) platform, was developed and deployed for the OZFlux community as part of the ANDS funded Monash ARDC-EIF Data Capture and Metadata Store Project. This system provides researchers with integrated access to Australian Ecosystem  research data, facilitates collaborative research, and promotes the re-use of data collections.

Other digital data repositories and archives

In many disciplines, national or international repositories or archives are available to support the long-term access to research data.

In deciding whether to deposit in one of these archives, you will need to consider the sustainability of the archive (e.g. in terms of staffing, funding arrangements, and support from its host institution), and assess its level of support for and within your discipline.

Examples of repositories and archives

The Directory of Open Access Repositories (OpenDOAR) has an extensive list of archives and repositories:

The ADA website also has a list of international data archives.

Archives for print, media and material collections

Records and Archives Service and the Library

Archives staff can provide an appraisal of your data collections, and if these are assessed as having permanent value may arrange for their transfer to the archives collection.

The Library's Rare Books Collections focus on published material rather than unpublished work (including research data in printed form).

Staff from both the Archives and the Library can provide advice about other cultural institutions that may be more suitable for the type of data that you have, including the National Library of Australia, State Library of Victoria, and format-specific archives such as the Film and Sound  Archive in Canberra.