Data Sharing Methods
Data dissemination is actively making your data accessible to others. Some researchers make their datasets available via their personal or group websites.
Data sharing is done in several ways:
Archiving is the preferred option as most archives the dual purpose of data preservation and dissemination. Their archives usually have a search utility and are often indexed by the major web search engines, thus increasing the chances of other researchers using and crediting your datasets and publications. Archiving datasets also means the dataset owner does not need to maintain a website and can specify a wide range of access controls.
If your dataset is online, then including the link in your publications will greatly increase its use and exposure.
Archiving of final research data is encouraged and in some cases required. Archiving your data ensures the data will not be lost, forgotten, or become unusable due to being stored in legacy file formats or storage media. Archiving also takes care of dissemination, access control and security.
Archives/repositories generally only accept final state data. The objective of the archive is to preserve the data and – if the data owner allows it – make the data available for further research. The owner of the data can specify a range of access restrictions; although, each archive will use different terminology. It is also possible to embargo data such that the data cannot be accessed until after a specified date. This is often done to give the data creators time to publish their results before making their data public.
The time and costs associated with archiving are often underestimated. Each item of data deposited will need to have metadata written for it, which will be very time consuming if your data consists of several hundred images that were taken some years ago. It is therefore best to write metadata as the data is created and to archive data continuously rather than leaving it until the end of the project. It is recommended that you include the costs of archiving in your grant application.
figshare is a repository where users can make all of their research outputs available in a citable, shareable and discoverable manner.
(Figshare 2012, Figshare, viewed 13 August 2014, <http://figshare.com/about>)
Figshare is a user-friendly resource that you can freely use to store your data and make it available to others (and get credit for it). Visit http://figshare.com/account/my_data for more information.