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Data Management: Sharing Data

About Data Sharing

Benefits of Sharing Data

Sharing data is of benefit to the wider research community, can help to expedite research and provide further impact and citation of research publications. Sharing data allows the research to be verified, replicated and extended and can also reduce duplication of similar research.

The study cited below provides one example of how publically available data has increased citation impact.

"The 48% of trials with publicly available microarray data received 85% of the aggregate citations. Publicly available data was significantly (p = 0.006) associated with a 69% increase in citations, independently of journal impact factor, date of publication, and author country of origin using linear regression."

Source : Piwowar HA, Day RS, Fridsma DB (2007) Sharing Detailed Research Data Is Associated with Increased Citation Rate. PLoS ONE 2(3): e308. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0000308.

Sharing data does not necessarily mean making data openly and publicly available although this is something that many researchers choose to do, and/or may also be a funding requirement. When choosing to share data, researchers have the ability to determine access conditions and to set a desired level of access to their datasets.

Options include:

Controlled/Mediated Access

  • A researcher may choose to remain the gatekeeper and all requests to access the data may be directed to a nominated contact, for example the Chief Investigator, or a Data Manager.
  • Access methods may include sending the data directly to the requesting researcher or providing a login to download the data from a secure site.

Restricted Access

  • Restrictions may be necessary in order to protect sensitive data eg. confidential information. Access to the data may be restricted to researchers within a specific discipline and there may be strict protocols to observe when working with the data.

Open Access

  • Open access to data generally means that the data is published and freely available in the public domain.

Options for Depositing or Sharing Data

Sharing and/or Depositing Data

Many researchers already share data with colleagues or established networks of peers within and outside their discipline. Data files may be shared via email, distributed via file sharing networks or published to the web.

To make data more discoverable and to preserve it for long term access, consider depositing data in a data repository or archive.

Data Archives, Digital Repositories and Data Centres

Features of data archives and repositories can include:

    • A focus on preservation
    • The ability to curate the data and assume custodianship of the data
    • Unique and permanent location and assignation of unique identifiers
    • Data deposited in established repositories and archives ranks higher in search engine page rankings, ie. is more discoverable to the wider research community
    • Rights, licencing and access management including managing access to restricted or sensitive data.
    • Data is backed up and managed by the service, leaving researchers free to focus on current research projects.

Some Examples

Australian Data Archive

Australian Social Science Data Archive

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Data Archive


Open Access Directory of Data Repositories by Discipline

Dryad: Data sharing makes our shoulders broader

Further Reading

Data Sharing - Selected articles

Nature - Special Issue (2009) Data Sharing -

Science - Special Issue (2011) Dealing with Data -

Heather A Piwowar, Roger S Day, Douglas B Fridsma(2007)Sharing Detailed Research Data Is Associated with Increased Citation Rate PLoS ONE 2:3. e308.

Key Perspectives. (2010), "Data dimensions: disciplinary differences in research data sharing, reuse
and long term viability. SCARP Synthesis Study", Digital Curation Centre.

Research Information Network. Communicating and Disseminating Research.

Travis, K. (2011) Sharing data in biomedical and clinical research. Science. 10.1126/science.caredit.a1100014

Anderson, J. R., & Schonfeld, T. L. (2006). Patient consent in the era of de-identified research databases. Journal of Clinical Oncology : Official journal of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, 24(4), 720-1. Retrieved from

Sharing Data: Good for Science, Good for You

Sharing Data: Good for Science, Good for You

Produced by DANS (Data Archiving and Networked Services) in the Netherlands.

Research without Borders: Open data and the future of funded research

Columbia University Libraries. Information Services. Scholarly Communication Program.

Research without Borders: Open data and the future of funded research, November 12, 2009.