How open is your data?

The University encourages staff and students to share their research data as early and as widely as possible.

Open research practices increase visibility and trust in research, allowing data to be reused by peers and thus improving individual reputation. A recent publication suggests that papers that include links to data are more likely to be cited.

The University’s Research Information Management team is here to help you manage your research data and link datasets to publications.

We currently hold nearly a thousand data records – but we want more!

What is research ‘data’?

‘Research data’ is any information, digital or analogue, that is required to demonstrate that the conclusions of your research follow from the evidence you have gathered.

Data may comprise

  • Samples
  • Interview recordings and transcriptions
  • Observations gathered in a spreadsheet
  • Visualisations
  • Search queries for databases that you’ve used
  • Field notes
  • Records of decisions that you have made in processing or analysing the data that you have gathered
  • Or any other information that you need to reach your conclusions!

Why should I share my data?

Because it’s good for research, for your reputation, and for your career.

Open research is the direction of travel for research worldwide – the sooner we start, the easier it will be.

Most funders require that you make data open access if there is no good reason to restrict it. You should therefore plan to share your data, for example by seeking ethical approval to do so.

The University’s Code of Good Practice in Research requires that any data of long-term value is retained for ten years after the end of an award, even if it can’t be shared3.

Open research practices are also recognised in the new academic promotions criteria.

Who can help me to manage and share my data?

The Research Information Management team can help you to practice open research by:

• Reviewing Data Management Plans for ongoing projects or for funding applications.
• Costing data management to include in your project budget.
• Publishing your data in our institutional repository, Enlighten: Research Data. Your data will be given a Digital Object Identifier and will be stored securely for at least ten years after the end of a project.
• Linking your data records to your publications. The data in “Enlighten: Research Data” will appear on your staff web page alongside your publications. Publications can be linked to their matching datasets, even when those datasets are not stored in Enlighten. If you’ve deposited a dataset elsewhere, please let us know so we can make a record for it.
• Providing training courses, including bespoke training.

For queries about research data management, or to deposit a dataset in Enlighten: Research Data, please get in touch at or visit


First published: 22 August 2019