Introducing our first discipline-specific guidance on data sharing

Eva Borger
Thursday 13 December 2018

collage of images, what are data

The need for guidance

Funders have introduced open data policies that require researchers to share the data or digital objects resulting from their research. However, these policies often lack a clear definition of ‘data’ in different scientific disciplines.
At the same time, whether one’s research involves measuring chemical reactions, taking microscopic images, scanning the sky, writing code, designing software or carrying out field observations, surveys or interviews, will have a big impact on how, and if, data can be shared.

Guidance from and for researchers

The Research Data Management team at the University Library are working closely with RDM Advisory Group representatives and researchers in Schools to develop a series of discipline specific guidance documents with the aim of answering questions such as:

  • What are ‘data’ or ‘digital objects’?
  • How can data be re-used?
  • What data should be deposited to be compliant with funder policies?
  • What is a theoretical paper where data sharing does not apply?
  • What exceptions to data sharing are acceptable?

The aim is to create a guide, developed by the research community, that offers a reference for researchers publishing work which is based on or resulted in primary research data.

Proud first steps

We are excited to announce that the first discipline-specific guidance document, from and for our researchers from the School of Chemistry, has now been finalised and published.
A big thanks goes to Professor Sharon Ashbrook, RDM Advisory Group representative for the School of Chemistry, as well as the researchers who joined the working group to provide examples, contribute to a fruitful discussion and give feedback.
But this is just a start. We are already working actively with other Schools to develop similar, yet tailored, guides for their disciplines in both the Sciences and the Arts and Humanities. Watch this space!

Any questions, ideas or comments? – Please get in touch with us at research-data@st-andrews.ac.uk.

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