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The use of incentives for sharing research data

A research project, commissioned by Knowledge Exchange, investigating current incentives for data sharing among researchers.

The benefits of research data sharing are well recognised among researchers and society in general, to speed up scientific progress for the benefit of science and society, as well as for economic benefits. Whilst the last decade has seen rapid growth in the policy drivers of data sharing, as well as the development of human and material capability to do so, the sharing of data by researchers is still not as prevalent as it was expected to be.

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This study provided evidence and examples of useful incentives for data sharing from the researchers' point of view, to inform scientists and policy makers. The study undertook qualitative interviews with five research teams with an established data sharing culture in partner countries of Knowledge Exchange (Finland, Denmark, Germany, United Kingdom, and the Netherlands), and spanning various academic disciplines (arts and humanities, social sciences, biomedicine, chemistry and biology).

The project:

  • identified official but especially also yet unknown or unofficial incentives of researchers for making data available with a focus on the values and intrinsic motivations of the individual as well as on the interactions within research teams and in the larger research community
  • analysed existing and possible future benefits for researchers sharing their data
  • investigated the influence of existing policies on the practice of data sharing throughout the whole life cycle of the research process as well as the influence of existing institutions and infrastructures offering support services for data sharing
  • considered the whole research life cycle and classify the most efficient moments in the research process for incentivising data sharing
  • provided recommendations for policy development regarding the incentivising of data access and reuse

A report on the use of incentives for data sharing was prepared, with recommendations for scientist and policy makers, presented at a Knowledge Exchange event. All data is made available and shared via the UK Data Service and Knowledge Exchange.

Archive contribution

The project was managed, research carried out and outputs delivered by the principal investigators at the UK Data Archive, in dialogue with Knowledge Exchange and in collaboration with local interviewers in the partner countries of Denmark, Finland, Germany and the Netherlands. The resulting data (interview recordings and transcripts) have been archived and shared via the UK Data Service.

Principal Investigators: Veerle Van den Eynden and Libby Bishop
Funder: Knowledge Exchange, Danish Agency for Culture, Copenhagen, Denmark
Dates: February 2014 - May 2014
Contact: Veerle Van den Eynden