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Research Data Management

 

Q. Why can’t I make my data only available to UK taxpayers? Research Councils are paid by UK taxpayers, why should other people benefit from our data sharing? It puts the UK at a competitive disadvantage.

First, researchers should always be willing to provide the evidence that substantiates their published research findings. Second, the move towards Open Science and Open Data is a global cultural change. Similarly to the UK Research Councils, the European Commission, the NIH, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and many others have policies on research data sharing. Open Science and Open Data are intended to drive innovation through knowledge exchange across the globe, and this can be achieved only if data is shared as freely as possible.

Q. Can I embargo data that supports my publication (after the article is published)?

Various funders have different policies on this and you should consult the policy of your funder directly. For example, the EPSRC says that research data “is expected to be accessible online no later than the date of first online publication of the article”, whereas if you are funded by the STFC, you can embargo your research data for the period commonly accepted within your community.

There is a list of the policies for the top 20 funders to the University. If your funder is not listed there, you can try searching for the policy of your funder on Sherpa/Juliet website. If your funder’s policy is unavailable on Sherpa/Juliet, you should get in touch with your funder directly.

Q. I am funded by EPSRC and I would like to publish several papers out of my data – if I release my data with the first publication, I won’t be able to publish anymore. What shall I do?

If you have a precise plan of future publications, you might indicate in your first publication that the underpinning research data will be made available for validation in the subsequent publication (to be published within xxxxx months).

Q. What if someone uses my data improperly?

That’s unfortunately always possible and cannot be avoided. Every time you publish, you risk being misinterpreted – that’s also true in the traditional publication process. Publishing research data underpinning your publication actually decreases the risk of your work being misinterpreted or misused, as you can be more transparent about your research findings.

Q. What can other people do with my data?

This will depend on the license that you choose for your data. When you submit your files to the University of Cambridge data repository, we will ask you how do you want to license your data. It is important that you think about this carefully, as this will determine what others can/cannot do with your data. You can read more about available licenses on our website.

Q. If I share my data via a repository and people can simply download my data, I can no longer collaborate with them to work on the data and I have lost the possibility of getting credit for my data.

Nobody wants to prevent new collaborations from happening. A solution might be to add a statement that you are willing to collaborate in the description of your data. Your data requestor might be interested in collaborating, simply because you know your data the best. Funders also expect that the data re-used by others is appropriately acknowledged/cited, and they want to ensure that due credit results from the secondary use of data.

Q. Which licence should I choose from my data?

The following licences are offered for you to choose from when uploading your research data to us:

  •  CC BY
  •  CC BY-SA
  •  CC BY-ND
  •  CC BY-NC
  •  CC BY-NC-SA
  •  CC BY-NC-ND
  •  GNU GPL v3

Funders do not prescribe any particular licences for datasets, so may decide for yourself which licence best suits your dataset. You can read more about the available licences here and there is also a nice graphic explaining the different licence types which can be viewed here.

Our recommended licence is CC BY. CC BY requires end users to cite your data but also allows your dataset to be re-used for multiple purposes (thus maximising the impact of your dataset and the potential number of citations).

Q. Can you recommend a licence for my dataset?

Our recommended licence is CC BY. CC BY requires end users to cite your data but also allows your dataset to be re-used for multiple purposes (thus maximising the impact of your dataset and the potential number of citations).

Funders do not prescribe any particular licences for datasets, so may decide for yourself which licence best suits your dataset. You can read more about the available licences here and there is also a nice graphic explaining the different licence types which can be viewed here.

Q. Who owns my dataset?

University researchers and students retain intellectual property rights where they arise, or the right to apply for such rights, from the results of activities undertaken by University staff in the course of their employment by the University and by students in the course of their study at the University in accordance with Chapter XIII of the University’s Statutes and Ordinances on Finance and Property, subsection Intellectual Property Rights - this also includes datasets.

In other words, unless the contract with your funder (or your collaborators) states otherwise, if you are the creator of your dataset, you will be the primary owner of the intellectual property rights.

Q. If my dataset supports a paper, does the publisher own it?

Most of the time when a publisher accepts a manuscript for a publication they will ask you to sign a copyright transfer agreement. In practice these agreements usually mean that you will transfer your copyright to the publisher and you will no longer own any copyright over the published version of your article.

However, if you submit your dataset supporting the publication to the University repository, the University is the publisher of your dataset, but NOT the publisher of your corresponding paper. This means that you can decide under what conditions to make your dataset available.

If you have any questions about data licensing, please email us.