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One of the themes of this year’s Love Data Week 2019 is ‘open data’. Coincidentally, last week saw the publication of ‘Realising the potential: Final report of the Open Research Data Task Force’, providing expert independent advice to the UK government on open research data (ORD).

The report reviews the current state of play for research data, and examines how the university sector can build on the Concordat on Open Research Data – which informs research council policies – and move towards making data FAIR (findable, accessible, interoperable, and re-useable).

The aims informing the report are:

  • enhance the quality and value of research by providing the incentives, the services, and the support researchers need as both creators and users of data;
  • facilitate the wider scrutiny and re-use of data;
  • increase public engagement and trust in research; and
  • promote the use of data to facilitate innovation and to enhance the benefit it brings to citizens in the UK and beyond.

One of the report’s recommendations is for research organisations to ‘take steps to ensure that all researchers have access to user-friendly services, both generic and domain-specific’. To move towards this goal, the University of St Andrews’ research data management team is here to support researchers in making their data open and FAIR. Part of how we do this is by hosting datasets in our research information system, Pure, and providing DOIs. This can be especially useful for researchers producing data that underpins articles but is not suitable for any of the specialist archives that some disciplines have developed.

Another recommendation is for universities to provide training for researchers ‘in data management and stewardship, in data processing, in analysing large and complex data sets, and in the application of learning algorithms’. The research data management team assist with training on data management and stewardship so if you would like any advice, such as help with a data management plan or finding a place to store your research data, please get in touch.

#lovedataweek: Announcing a report from the Open Research Data Task Force
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