Sharing your data: open access data sharing

Sharing your data during and after research is beneficial to you as a researcher. It helps when collaborating with colleagues and can improve the visibility and impact of your research. Moreover, most funding agencies, like the NWO and European Commission, require you to share your data. They mention this explicitly in their grants or implicitly in their general regulations. Radboud University has also made open access part of its policy.

This page highlights some best practices concerning open access data sharing and how to use the Digital Object Identifier (DOI) in your publications.

As open as possible, as closed as necessary

Funding agencies and Radboud University require that you share data as open as possible and as closed as necessary. That means that if your data are not sensitive, you should share them without any restrictions. In the Radboud Data Repository (RDR), you should choose a Data Sharing Collection (DSC) with access level Open access. Your data can be reused best if you use a CC0 (or in some cases CC-BY) licence. In rare cases it may be necessary to choose a more restrictive licence. Visit our help page on selecting an access level and data use agreement for your DSC to find out more about licences.

In the case of sensitive data, it may be necessary to restrict access to the data. Note that if only part of your dataset is sensitive it might still be possible to share the other part of your data in an Open access DSC. For example, if you have data acquired on human subjects, you could share the averaged results at the group level in an Open access DSC.

Sensitive data include:

  • Human participant data which cannot be anonymised, i.e. pseudonymised or directly identifiable personal data. Data sharing must always be in compliance with the agreements you made with your research participants in the informed consent form. Always share data as de-identified as possible

  • Data involving controlled use of animals

  • Data subject to contractual constraints, such as licences, collaboration or data processing agreements, or funder agreements

  • Data with commercial potential or that may be patented

  • Data subject to export controls

  • Environmentally sensitive data

  • Politically sensitive data

In the case of sensitive data, it may be necessary to identify the end user so that they can be held accountable for responsible use of the data. It may also be necessary to confirm that the use of the data collection does not cause harm to individuals, communities, ecosystems, cultural or ethnic groups, commercial parties, etc. The RDR offers two restrictive access levels for DSCs: Open access for registered users DSCs serve for sharing pseudonymised data acquired from human subjects and Restricted access DSCs for other sensitive or directly identifiable data. Visit our help page on selecting an access level for your DSC for more information.

Share your research data -by publishing the DSC- when you are ready to submit your manuscript to a scientific journal. Even if your research project is still on-going when you want to publish a scientific paper, for example in longitudinal studies, there is no reason not to publish your data collection. Simply store your publication's data in a DSC and document in the metadata that these shared data are part of a larger project. You can link the data collections that belong to a single, larger project in the metadata by filling out the field Associated data.

In some cases you may not want to share your data immediately, for example if you are working on follow-up publications based on the same data. In such cases you can share the data under an embargo of a certain amount of time. Embargos can be requested from your research administrator.

Citing your data collections with a digital object identifier (DOI)

You can use the DOI assigned to your data collection to cite that collection in a publication so that others can find the dataset belonging to the publication easily. As a prerequisite for publication, several journals now request a persistent identifier for shared data. A DOI allows for direct access to a digital object, even if its URL changes.

A DOI is assigned to a collection in the RDR as soon as that collection is created. You can find the DOI under the Metadata tab of your collection. This means that you can use it in your manuscript. However, this DOI only becomes active after publishing a DSC or archiving a Data Acquisition Collection (DAC) or Research Documentation Collection (RDC). If the editor of the journal requests access to your data during the review process -i.e. before you published a DSC- you can use the 'reviewer access URL', as described in the help page about publishing a DSC.