Last week I’ve been in Berlin and took part in the workshop “Making Data Count: Research data availability and research assessment” hosted by Knowledge Exchange (KE), a 2005 established cooperation between five research funders.
The aim of the workshop was to bring experts and stakeholders from research institutions, universities, scholarly societies and funding agencies together in order to review, discuss and build on possibilities to implement the culture of sharing and to integrate publication of data into research assessment procedures.
The workshop was very informative. It was interesting to see which questions regarding research data in many European states are currently most discussed, what challenges are most pressing and where funders and other stakeholders see an urgent need for solutions.
Beside the presentations five breakout sessions offered the possibility for further discussion for all participants. The five sessions reflected some of the most pressing challenges in the field of research data publication:
a) Quality assurance for data publications
b) Enhanced publications: Linking data to other research information
c) New metrics and citation systems to measure the impact of data publication
d) Codes of conduct for sharing data
e) Research assessment procedures at universities and funding agencies
In the course of the workshop, KE also presented a new report: “The Value of Research Data – Metrics for datasets from a cultural and technical point of view.” The report presents a first landscape study of creating and promoting data metrics and the assessment of the use of datasets in scientific work as a tool to stimulate data sharing. He also recommends that data sharing and data publication should be more broadly adopted among scholars. To support this a reward system should be developed for scientists that includes data metrics – a very important approach in my eyes.
Other important steps to be taken are that the costs of data publication should be reduced and the existing negative perceptions of researchers regarding data publication should be addressed. Standards will need to be developed for preservation, publication, identification and citation of datasets – a job a research library could usefully fulfil.
The report reviews the current literature on data sharing and data metrics and presents outcomes of interviews with the main stakeholders on data sharing and data metrics. Existing repositories and tools in the field of data sharing have been analysed that have special relevance for the promotion and development of data metrics.
This report will be of interest not only for major stakeholders in science, but also for research funders and scientific institutions. It provides them with more knowledge about tools to promote and reward data sharing and data publication within their scientific communities. In this landscape study, all major stakeholders have been considered in order to summarize the main views, problems and challenges that need to be tackled in the development of metrics for datasets, and in the generalisation and promotion of data sharing activities.
text: parts from press release