Data sharing

Data sharing

How can I share data with my collaborators?
Do I need to share my data once the research has finished?
What benefit is there to sharing data?
How can I make my data accessible?
Further reading
Who can help me with data sharing at the University of Glasgow?

How can I share data with my collaborators?

Your local IT support can set up a shared storage area for you and other University colleagues to share data. See details on IT Services File sharing webpage.

If you want to share data with external collaborators during your research, consider:

  • Online file sharing services such as Microsoft SharePoint or the University's OwnCloud service, which store a copy of your files online and allow you to grant others access;
  • Secure file transfer such as https://transfer.gla.ac.uk/ in which you post your data online for download by colleagues; 
  • Using portable storage media e.g. CDs, memory sticks etc (sent by post / courier as required).  Make sure you use encryption if you’re posting sensitive data – see encryption advice on our security page.

Sharing on a peer-to-peer basis doesn’t make it easy for external people to find your data.  If you want to increase the visibility of your research and ensure it's properly cited, consider depositing in the University's Data Repository.

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Do I need to share my data once the research has finished?

It’s possible there are specific requirements on you to share your data.

  • Many research funders expect data sharing wherever possible.  The Digital Curation Centre provides an overview of funders’ data policies including data sharing requirements;
  • Some publishers, e.g. the Nature Publishing Group, require authors to make data available as a condition of publishing.  There is also a growing trend to link publications to the datasets which underpin the findings;
  • Research data can be requested under Freedom of Information legislation. 

It's easier to meet access requests if your data are organised and well-documented, so plan early.

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What benefit is there to sharing data?

Sharing data can be daunting.  Many researchers fear they’ll lose their competitive edge, are wary others will misinterpret their data and have concerns about their methods being open to scrutiny.

There are lots of benefits to be gained though – just think about what you get from using other people’s data.  For example, access to data:

  • Allows independent validation of results;
  • Increases the impact and visibility of research;
  • Makes best use of investment by avoiding replication;
  • Leads to new collaborations and partnerships;
  • Advances science when datasets are combined in new and innovative ways.

 If you plan for data sharing, you can find a method of providing access that you’re comfortable with.

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How can I make my data accessible?

You can deposit your data with specialist data centres, archives and repositories so it’s more widely available.  The DCC has a list of UK data centres by discipline, so you can check if there’s provision in your field.  It might also be possible to submit your data to your journal too.

Alternatively, you may wish to make certain data and information available the University's Institutional Data Repository Enlighten: Research Data so you can direct interested parties there rather than handling each request individually. To deposit data in Enlighten: Research Data, contact the Research Data Management Service.

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Further reading

DCC overview of funders’ data policies [WEB, c.3 pages]
A summary of the main UK research funders’ polices noting the various stipulations each has, including requirements to share data. More detailed descriptions of each policy are also available.

UKDA Managing and Sharing Data guide [PDF, 28 pages, 1.16MB]
Pages 4-6 of the guide cover why and how to share data.

If you're considering licensing your data, to share on a commercial basis, read the DCC guide to licensing data [WEB, c.5 pages].

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Who can help me with data sharing at the University of Glasgow?

Local IT support can assist with the technicalities of how to transfer data or set up shared storage area networks.

The University's Research Data Management Service can advise on appropriate places to deposit for your data so it can be shared in the longer-term.

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