How to open research data
When making research data openly accessible, the data needs to be in a form that an outsider can understand and utilise. A thoroughly devised data management plan is instructive already in its data-gathering phase and makes it easier to open. Data to be opened requires being a simple and explicit unity. You would do good to publish your research data in such a data archive that potential users would locate easily.
Opening data step by step:
- Choose the data or the part of it that you planned to open.
- Find out, if there are any ethical, juridical or contractual limitations to open the data.
- Describe opening the data in your data management plan in order acknowledge the requirements to open it when gathering your data. Define the phase of the research project in which you wish to open your data.
- If needed, anonymise your data.
- For your data, it recommended to choose an open file format which requires no commercial software and which is compatible with as many operating systems as possible.
- Make sure that metadata is available to locate your data. Describe the data produced and obtain persistent identifiers (URN, DOI) for your data items.
- Define the rights to use your data by licensing your research data.
- Make your data openly accessible by storing it into an open data archive (data archives of universities, research institutes, national or international discipline-based or general information archives) or by publishing it in open data journals.
- Advertise your open data in social media (e.g. ResearchGate, Academia.edu, Mendeley) and add the open data information into your CV, publication list and your website.
Ethical and juridical matters may limit opening research data in full extent:
- Act on the Openness of Government Activities (21st May 1999/621)
- Personal Data Act (22nd April 1999/523)
- Copyright Act (8th July 1961/404)
- Good scientific practices / Finnish Advisory board on Research Integrity
- The research ethics policies of the University of Eastern Finland
- Anonymisation and Personal Data / Finnish Social Science Data Archive
For more information:
The Finnish Academy's data management plan, University level Guidelines / UEF
Open Science and Research Handbook (ATT):
- How to Cite Datasets and Link to Publications / Digital Curation Centre
- How to Cite Data / MSU Libraries
Data Journal Directory / Finnish Committee for Research Data
CSC Services for Science / CSC
Nine simple ways to make it easier to (re)use your data / White et al. 2013