WUR goes Sharing Data: the benefits and the doubts

The academic world is enchanted by open data and FAIR data sharing. What is so magical about it? Does it only provide benefits or are there also concerns? Within Wageningen University & Research (WUR) much thought is being given to what data sharing means. A proposal has emerged from this. We  invite you to think with us whether the proposal is workable and whether elements are missing.

Why sharing data?

A transition is taking place within the scientific world in which the role and products of science are reconsidered. The present Open Science movement stimulates science to publish their data in an FAIR way so scientists can benefit not only from re-using each other’s results through publications, but also through the re-use of the research data. The most important reason for sharing this data is probably that it strengthens the connection and collaboration between scientists. More collaboration leads to better science and better decision making. In the end this is beneficial for the whole scientific community, the research sponsors, the data repositories and the public.

At a national level, the National Plan Open Science, the new Code of Conduct for research integrity and the aim of the Dutch government for an Open Data culture for publicly funded research, ensures that WUR pro-actively thinks about data sharing. Likewise, opportunities for public – private partner research collaborations increase, and the answer on how to share data within these collaborations would benefit from a WUR data sharing vision with guidelines.

Preliminary Proposal

Since 2014 WUR has a research data policy. In first instance, the policy was mainly about data management planning at the University. In 2017 the data policy has been extended to ensure continuity, verifiability and re-use of research data. This renewed data policy has a strong focus on keeping data safe during research and making data Findable and Accessible after research. The policy, however, does not provide a vision or guidelines on how to share data. A working group was set up in 2019 to provide guidelines on data sharing. The proposed guidelines describes how Open Science can be realized with respect to data, and in which cases more restricted access to data needs to be secured. It is important to realize that tailor made advise will in most cases be needed when sharing data within collaborations with commercial parties.

Feedback and workability

We would like to invite you to think along with us and share your findings about sharing data. It is also important for us to hear what you encounter and what added value has come to sharing data. Are there any points that are still missing from the guidelines and do you expect the guidelines to be workable? Please comment on this blogpost or leave your ideas in our mailbox data@wur.nl.

WUR is serious about data

The data policy inside and outside the WUR is constantly changing. By thinking about the role of WUR in relation to those changes, WUR shows that it is serious about data.

More information about the data management policy can be found on our website wur.eu/data in the Data Management section. In the meantime, do not hesitate to contact the data desk if you have any questions or recommendations.

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Saskia van Marrewijk

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  1. […] blog post is part of the series on Data Sharing @ WUR. You can find the WUR data sharing guidelines here. If you would like us to help you on data […]

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