How to open research data
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. 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) 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:
- 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:
UEF guidelines to research data management
Citing data, Data citation roadmap for Finland / Finnish Committee for Research Data
CSC Services for Science / CSC
Open data journals / Finnish Committee for Research Data