Meaning of publishing data
Here, publishing data means making your data known and available to the whole world and society. However, it is important to highlight that publishing data
- Does not necessarily mean Open Access nor Public. Data can be published with Closed or Restricted Access.
- Does not have to happen immediately, while you are still working on the project. Data can be made available after your scientific paper is published.
- Is different from publishing your paper or article. Data is the collection of values used in your manuscript to generate the results.
Good reasons to make your data open access
- European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity (2017) states that “Researchers, research institutions and organisations ensure access to data is as open as possible, as closed as necessary”.
- Research funders, institutions and reputable journals/publishers with data sharing mandates will normally allow you to opt out of their open data requirements only for legitimate reasons (see below).
- Additional reasons to share your data:
Good reasons to close or restrict access to your data
Ethical, legal and contractual issues:
- Personal data.
- Sensitive data that could potentially cause harm (e.g. to endangered species, vulnerable sites or groups, public health, national security, etc) if made public. Some personal data are considered sensitive personal data.
- Confidential data: you have a duty or agreed to keep the data confidential.
- Third-party data: data are not generated in the course of your own research project, but are supplied to you by another party.
- Copyright and/or database right data.
- Data with potential economic/commercial value.
If you want to close or restrict access to your data, you must explain your ethical and/or legal issues in the Data Management Plan (DMP). You can ask help to the Legal Team, Tech Transfer Office or Data Protection Officer of your institute.
Types of restricted access to data
Registered access or authentication procedure
Registered access is provided by some data archives, which require potential users to register before they are able to access data files. Registered access allows the data archive to monitor who access data, enabling reminders about conditions of use to be issued.
Data Access Committees (DACs)
A Data Access Committee (DAC) is an organization of one or more named individuals who are responsible for data release to external requestors based on specific criteria. A DAC can be part of the data repository or university/hospital. DAC can assist data submission to repositories and assess data access requests. Criteria established by DAC for data access are usually described on the website of the organization.
Non-disclosure agreements can be used to share confidential or sensitive data with specific individuals for specific purposes and under specific terms. Contact the Legal Team of your institute if you require a non-disclosure agreement for your data. The terms of the agreement must be described in the documentation associated with the data.
Access upon request (not recommended)
In order to manage this type of access a named contact is required for the data who would be responsible for making decisions about whether access is granted. The owner of the data must provide his/her contact in the documentation associated with the data.
It is a defined period of time, imposed by the author, which prohibits access to data. After the embargo period, data becomes Open, Closed or with Restricted access. Reasons for embargo could be: i) need to secure Intellectual Property (IP); ii) need to publish the results of the research (manuscript) in a journal.
Select repositories based on data access type
Registry of Research data Repositories (or re3data.org) allows you to filter the list of repositories based on data access type.
Sources and further reading
- Restricting access to data. Researcher Support University of Westminster https://www.westminster.ac.uk/research/researcher-support/research-data/archiving-data/restricting-access-to-data.
- Data Publication: Controlling access to published data. The University of Sydney https://libguides.library.usyd.edu.au/datapublication/access.