Why open research data? Demands are being made at the European Community level and at the national level that publicly funded research should be made freely available. This will include scientific publications as well as associated research data. The Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet) has been commissioned by the Swedish government to establish national guidelines for open access to scientific information. Because of this, many research-funding bodies also demand open access.
Open access to research data leads to several advantages for the research community as well as the general public. VR emphasizes the following advantages: (from VR Proposal for open access to scientific information)
- Democracy and transparency. Research results paid for by public funds should, as a matter of principle, be accessible to citizens.
- Research. Open access to research data may enable researchers to address new questions, especially within an interdisciplinary context.
- Innovation and utilisation outside research. Easily accessible data also has the potential to be used outside the research community, for example by companies, private persons and public authorities.
- Citation. Researchers who reuse research data must make reference to the researcher(s) who originally produced the research data.
For further reading see Proposal for National Guidelines for Open Access to Scientific Information
Making research data publicly available is not without challenges and there are legal restrictions that researchers have to take into consideration. These are outlined by The Swedish National Data Service SND (Svensk Nationell Datatjänst) in the report ”Juridiska aspekter i forskning: En introduktion till det allmänna regelverket” [In Swedish].
Research data is often public records according to the Swedish Freedom of Information Act (Offentlighetsprincipen). The preserving and discarding of public records is regulated by law, by instructions from the Swedish national archives (Riksarkivet) and by the fact that individual citizens have the right to access public records. The data in the records, or part of that data, may in some cases, include classified information according to the Public Access to Information and Secrecy Act.
Where can I provide access to the data?
Research data and DiVA
Small data sets may be uploaded to DiVA for public access, access after request or for archiving only. The data set will be assigned a unique identifier (urn:nbn) and a permanent link. It is also possible to connect publications to data sets.
What is happening at Mid Sweden University?
Miun has by Letter of Intent (Dnr: MIUN 2017/478) supported an application from SND to the Swedish Research Council (VR) concerning a national infrastructure for research data. This means that Miun has agreed to establish a DAU (Data Access Unit) at the university, most likely involving Research Related Services at the Library.
The library, the archive, the lawyer and the IT department are currently collaborating regarding the management of research data. In the autumn of 2017, the library and the archivist are attending a course held by SND to learn more about research data in order to provide support within the university.
The library has also participated in an online course about research data (Mantra Research Data Management Training).