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Why publish and preserve data?

Publishing and preserving research data for long-term reference and access is key to good research practice and an integral part to the UKRI Common Principles on Data Policy to which many research funders in the UK subscribe.

Beyond compliance with funder requirements, publishing and preserving your data have many other direct benefits.

The benefits of publishing and sharing data 

  • Opportunities for future research: the ongoing availability of your research data provides opportunities to both validate existing results and build upon them with future research.
  • Increased impact of the work: securing access to an important dataset increases the likelihood that it will be used in future research. This in turn elevates the impact and visibility of the original research from which the data emerged to the benefit of the researcher and their institution.
  • Demonstrate transparency and integrity

The benefits of preserving data

  • Protect your investment in your research: preservation ensures that you have continued access to your data in the future, can re-use it and built upon it, even if the original file formats become obsolete
  • Protect others' investment in your research: if the full value of investment in your research is to be realised, its outputs need to be evidenced and protected
  • Compliance with national information access legislation; e.g. Freedom of Information Act 2000, Data Protection Act 1998, the General Data Protection Regulation, Environmental Information Regulations 2004.
  • Securing confidentiality, availability, integrity: preservation procedures safeguard against loss, deterioration, inappropriate access, obsolescence and future incompatibility.
  • Demonstrate good practice in data management.

Appraisal of data for publication and preservation

It is important to make active decisions on the publication and preservation of digital outputs from a research project and, where possible, this should be outlined in a data management plan at the start of the project. Considerations for the decision making process include:

  • Are there legal or ethical obligations for data preservation, the preservation period and data format? 
  • Are there research data policies affecting the retention of the data?
  • Is the dataset essential for validating research findings?
  • Is the dataset important to understanding the context of the research project and for building on it for future research?
  • Can the dataset be re-used for similar or related research?
  • Is the data unique?
  • Does the data have scientific of historical value?

Please don't hesitate to contact the RDM team for further information and advice.