OECD publishes report on business models for sustainable data repositories

Posted: December 15th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: found on the net, Report, Research Data | Tags: , , | No Comments »

In 2007, the OECD Principles and Guidelines for Access to Research Data from Public Funding were published and in the intervening period there has been an increasing emphasis on open science. At the same time, the quantity and breadth of research data has massively expanded. The promise of open (research) data is that they will not only accelerate scientific discovery and improve reproducibility, but they will also
speed up innovation and improve citizen engagement with research.

However, for the benefits of open science and open research data to be realised, these data need to be carefully and sustainably managed so that they can be understood and used by both present and future generations of researchers. Data repositories are where the long-term stewardship of research data takes place and hence they are the foundation of open science. So, the development of sustainable business models for research data repositories needs to be a high priority in all countries.

But to date, litte attention was paid on income streams, costs, value propositions, and business models for these data repositories.

Therefore, the OECD Global Science Forum (GSF) has requested a study on these topics in 2015. Now the organisation has published its report on these important questions. The report explores the income streams, costs, value propositions, and business models for 48 research data repositories. It includes a set of recommendations designed to provide a framework for developing sustainable business models and to assist policy makers and funders in supporting repositories with a balance of policy regulation and incentives.

These recommendations comprise:

  1. All stakeholders should recognise that research data repositories are an essential part of the infrastructure for open science. They should take a strategic view of the data landscape and seek to ensure the appropriate provision of repositories. But also research data repository operators and managers need to clearly articulate the value of the data repositories for all stakeholders in the research system. Also they should continually review their business model as a repository evolves, and revise it accordingly.
  2. All research data repositories should have a clearly articulated business model. This comprises a whole set of questions and resulting actions to ensure sustainability.
  3. All stakeholders need to consider the ways in which data repositories are funded, and the advantages and disadvantages of various business models in different circumstances. Structural funding typically involves a trade-off between funding for data repositories and funding for other research infrastructure or for research itself. Funding models depending on deposit or access fees bring the trade-off closer to the researchers, but their success in optimising allocation will depend on the extent to which the actors are informed and on their freedom of choice.
  4. Research data repository business models are constrained by, and need to be aligned with, policy regulation (->mandates) and incentives (including funding). Policy makers should be cautious of “un-funded mandates”. They should combine regulation and incentives thoughtfully to achieve best results.
  5. In the context of financial sustainability, opportunities for cost optimisation should be explored in order to be able to effectively manage digital assets over time. The repositories need to obtain greater clarity concerning costs. Also closely monitoring the research landscape for emerging opportunities is important, becausethere will be increasing opportunities to buy services from specialist providers, potentially enabling greater cost optimisation. Collaboration and federation can help to manage and reduce costs.

The full report is available here.



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