It is recommended to follow FAIR –principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Re-usable) in research data management.
Research funders and publishers require more often opening the background materials of a study. According to the University of Eastern Finland’s publishing and data policy, research data in relation to published results obtained through public funding are to be published openly whenever it is possible regarding arranged agreements (ownership, access rights, immaterial property rights and non-disclosure), legislation and the principles of research ethics, and does not compromise the interests of the university.
Making research data open and available for others:
- improves the extensive usability and further utilisation of the research results
- advances research and enables new observations and phenomena to be discovered
- promotes research co-operation
- provides researchers equal opportunities to utilise research data
Licensing is recommended when opening your data. Licenses allow a researchers themselves to define the rights to use their data: what, when and to whom the data will be assigned. It is important to acknowledge the funders’ and research organisations’ requirements in addition to laws and research ethics.
For a researcher, opening the data is a scientific merit, for the achievements in producing and sharing research data counts as scientific and societal impact in research work. Sharing data is worth adding to your CV. Opening the data merits a researcher via citations to open access research data and publications produced from research data. Unused data is also recommended to be published. In order to make research data findable and utilisable, you should link sufficiently accurate descriptive information or metadata to the research data. The use of a persistent identifier (URN, DOI) is recommended in order to keep your data findable. It helps to identify and locate a digital title even if its location would have changed.
UEF eRepository (UEF eRepo), the open access materials repository of the University of Eastern Finland, contains self-archived versions of academic articles and metadata of research data made available by our researchers. UEF eRepo harvests the metadata of research data from several different data services.
It is recommended that the descriptive metadata is shared for example in the data searching service Etsin, and the research data in a discipline-specific data archive/repository or other national or international data storage services.
There are several reliable national and international data repositories that researchers can use to deposit their research data for free. In case you choose a foreign data repository, remember to make sure that the metadata is stored also to Etsin the Finnish research data finder.
UEF eRepository (UEF eRepo), the open access materials repository of the University of Eastern Finland, contains self-archived versions of academic articles and metadata of research data made available by our researchers. UEF eRepo harvests the metadata of research data from several different data services. Automatic transfer into UEF eRepo is possible from Etsin, Zenodo and EUDAT. In order that the automatic information transfer succeeds, it is important that the university is mentioned in the metadata correctly. It is recommended to use “University of Eastern Finland” for affiliation.
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 data-gathering phase and makes it easier to open the research data. The shared data must be a simple and explicit unity. It is advisable 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 plan to open.
- Find out, if there are any ethical, juridical or contractual limitations to sharing the data.
- Describe sharing the data in your data management plan so that the requirements of data sharing are already taken into account when you are gathering the data. Define the phase of the research project in which you wish to open your data.
- If necessary, anonymise your data.
- For your data, it is 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 ensure the locating of your data. Describe the data produced and obtain persistent identifiers (URN, DOI) for your data items. You can obtain a permanent identifier through the Etsin service or data repositories or archives.
- Define the rights to use your data by licensing your research data. UEF guidelines for using Creative Commons licenses for research data is available next section. For open data, the machine-readable standard format license CC BY 4.0 is recommended. Metadata describing the research data is recommended to be licensed with the CC0 licence. For computer software, the MIT License is recommended.
- Make your data openly accessible by storing it into an open data repository or archive (data archives of universities, research institutes, national or international discipline-based or general information archives, more information available after next section) or, for example 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 to your website.
Ethical and juridical matters may limit opening research data in full extent:
- Data protection and processing of personal data in UEF
- General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR; 2016/679)
- Act on the Openness of Government Activities (21st May 1999/621)
- 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:
UEF guidelines to research data management
Citing data, Data citation roadmap for Finland / Finnish Committee for Research Data
The information security policies of the University of Eastern Finland
CSC Services for Research / CSC
Open Data Handbook / Open Knowledge International
Managing and Sharing Data: Best Practice For Researcher / UK Data Archive
Licensing is recommended when opening your data. Licenses allow a researcher personally to define the rights to use their data: what, when and to whom the data will be signed. It is important to acknowledge the funders’ and research organisations’ requirements in addition to laws and research ethics.
- For open research data, the machine-readable standard format license CC BY 4.0 or CC0 is recommended.
- Metadata for describing the research data is recommended to be licensed with the CC0 consent.
- For computer software, the MIT License is recommended.
For more information:
CreativeCommons.org / information about CC licenses
How to License Research Data / Digital Curation Centre
There are several reliable national and international data services that researchers can use to deposit their research data for free. The researcher can choose the repository that best suits the data and the discipline. It is recommended to use a service which is reliable and stable, and enables open access.
Publishers have different practices related to opening the data. Some publishers require data availability statement which describes how the data is available, or in case that the data cannot be opened the reasons are specified. Research data can be opened for example by publishing it in data journal. Data journals are a new form of publication that focuses on the datasets instead of the conventional research article.
Finnish data services
- Etsin / metadata publishing platform and research data finder, CSC
- AVAA /open research data publishing platform, CSC
- IDA / Finnish research data storage service for researchers, CSC
- Aila / Finnish Social Science Data Archive, FSD
- Kielipankki (The Language Bank of Finland) / written and spoken material, FIN-CLARIN
International data services
- Zenodo / data repository for all disciplines, CERN
- EUDAT / European research data infrastructure and service unit
- Dryad / general-purpose data repository for research data underlying scientific publications
- Pangaea / data repository for geo- and biosciences
- The European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) molecular data resources and bioinformatics services to the scientific community. Several data repositories and a wizard that helps to find the right archive to submit data.
- Figshare / data repository for all disciplines
Other data archives and services
- re3data.org / international field-based research data repository registry, contains also closed access archives
- Data repositories / list of data repositories of different fields of science
- OpenDOAR / directory service of data and publication archives
- CESSDA / Consortium of European Social Science Data Archives, contains data archives for each country
- OpenAIRE / European open access infrastructure
Further use of existing research data is economical and saves limited resources. It is good for researcher to utilise already existing research data in their study, because
- it speeds up the process
- ready data can work as reference material for their own data, or their own data can be merged with existing data
- it will save research resources, when they do not need to conjure up everything by themselves.
Research data can be searched via search services, data repositories, archives and portals. When searching, it is useful to utilise general subject headings (Finto service provides subject headings from different fields of science) that may have been used when describing data. A list of research data services is previous section.
Open access data portals
- Avoindata.fi / open data regarding public administration
- Finnish Meteorological Institute – Open data / Finnish Meteorological Institute’s open data and open source code
- Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency – Open data / open data regarding traffic and traffic networks
- National Land Survey of Finland – Open data service / self-service for drawing up maps (in Finnish)
- Finnish Instutute for Health and Welfare (THL) – Open data / National Institute for Health and Welfare’s open data
- Statistics Finland – Open data and interfaces / open data files and their interfaces
- Traficom – Open data / Finnish Transport and Communications Agency's open data
- Finnish Tax Administration – Open data / Open data provided by Finnish Tax Administration (in Finnish)
- European Union Open Data Portal
Research data must be cited as all other sources used in research. According to the national data citation information model data reference should consist of following elements:
creator, title, host organisation, publication time and/or date and persistent identifier.
Useful additional elements are: version, resource type, license status, ORCID, embargo information.
Data repositories and archives usually have guidelines for data citation. Also publishers can have their own guidelines how to refer to data in journals.
- Tracing data: Data citation roadmap for Finland / FCRD
- FSD guidelines for data citation
- How to Cite Datasets and Link to Publications / Digital Curation Centre