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EC Public consultation on open research data
Iliyana Kuzmova

On the 2nd July 2013, I attended the EC Public consultation on open research data.

The EU has already a commitment to open publication of publicly funded research, but this was a consultation on the policy for the openness of data. The European Commission recognizes that openness of data is better for scientific advancement, it promotes innovation and it is also good for the citizen. It means that scientific research will be more verifiable and it will promote acceptance of research.

There were five topics for consultation:-

1. What types of data should be open and how do you define what research data is?

2. What restrictions should be placed on openness and when?

3. Where should open data be stored and made accessible?

4. How can a culture of openness be promoted?

5. How can issues related to re-use, such as citation, be addressed?

There were many perspectives at the meeting, from industry, medical research, particle physics, publishers, research funders, librarians, etc. However, from a Biodiversity perspective I came away with several points that I thought worth sharing.

1. Biodiversity researchers are much better placed than many other fields to move towards openness. We are not often restricted by issues of personal privacy and commercially sensitive data.

2. Being open with data will cost money. It is still not easy for the majority of biodiversity scientists to get their data in a format that they can deposit in a central repository. This will require investment in software and training.

3. Well maintained central repositories are essential for the storage, dissemination and citation of open data.

4. Unique identifiers of people (e.g. ORCID), publications (e.g. DOI) and data are essential for a culture of openness.

5. Data management plans are likely to be required in Horizon 2020 proposals, either in the proposal or as a first deliverable. Data management plans are now becoming essential at national and institutional level.

We have a long way to go in the promotion of openness in the Biodiversity community. Other scientific communities are well ahead of us. Yet there are good reasons to be optimistic, particularly with the progress of open publication. A change to a culture of sharing will develop if issues of citability of data can be resolved and if institutions give recognition to researchers for being open with their data.

Can I suggest you register for an ORCID today? It will help you get credit for your work and move us towards more open science.


Article by Quentin Groom (NBGB)

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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement No 312848