What is research data?
Almost every research process in any field will produce data. They arise as by experiments, measurements, surveys, interviews as well as by digitization or source research. Therefore primary or raw data can be of varying content. There will be measurement results and analysis data with the associated programs among them just as pictures and drawings or empirical data.
Why should research data be published?
The storage and provision of data of research projects in addition to the publication of results is becoming increasingly important:
- Research results will be transparent and verifiable in conjunction with the data used.
- Reuse of data is possible. Thus, duplication of effort is avoided and instead new research ideas may emerge.
- Securing and storing primary data is in accordance with good scientific practice. A corresponding recommendation is given by DFG in “Sicherung guter wissenschaftlicher Praxis“.
Also many project funders require for a data management plan and research data to be published. For example:
- DFG: Leitlinien zum Umgang mit Forschungsdaten. Stand 30.9.2015
- European Commission: Guidelines on Open Access to Scientific Publications and Research Data in Horizon 2020. 21.3.2017
Data management planning
If your project involves data, then data management planning should be one of the early tasks in your project. Usually, these considerations are recorded in a data management plan (DMP). Depending on the project a DMP can vary between a few lines and a very comprehensive document. The following questions should be considered:
- Are there any existing data that can be reused?
- What kind of data is generated in the project?
- How will data be organized?
- Are there any administrative or legal aspects to consider?
- How is the data published and made available for re-use of the community?
- How are responsibilities defined?
- What costs can be expected?
In Germany there are no set procedures for the preparation of a DMP yet. Two online tools have become well established internationally:
Provision by the UK Digital Curation Centre (DDC) with a strong focus on British requirements. But also suitable for Horizon 2020.
Provision by the University of California Curation Center with a strong focus on the US requirements of NSF and NIH.
A checklist for research data management in Germany may be found here: Leitfaden zum Forschungsdaten-Management: Handreichungen aus dem WissGrid-Projekt. 2013.
Where and how can I publish research data?
Research data should best be published in a special research data repository. Depending on your research area and the community, requirements for searchability and accessibility can vary greatly. re3data.org, the Registry of Research Data Repositories can help you choose the right home for your data.If there is no repository within your research community, you might consider using Zenodo or figshare.
The TUHH will set up their own repository in 2017.
How can I make research data quotable?
If research data are to complement research results, they must also be reliably citable. Many repositories use a registration agency to list their content in DataCite. There a unique DOI is assigned for each data set, which will help the data set to become permanently citable and accessible.
Venzke, Marcus et al.. (2016). Raw data belonging to paper “Simulative Evaluation of Demand Response Approaches for Waterbeds”. Zenodo. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.45801
Any publication in DataCite authored by you can also be claimed to your ORCID profile.