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Research Data Management Toolkit: Publication

Best practices in Research Data Management promote research integrity and collaborative opportunities. A Data Management Plan ensures data security, accessibility and validation of results.

Data publishing

Publishing your data and making it available to others can improve the impact of your research significantly. It contributes to the body of knowledge in your discipline and reduces duplication of effort. Publishing your data also makes your research more reliable with increased reproducibility and articles with published datasets are also more highly cited. 

No matter if or how you choose to publish your data, it is important to carefully consider the permissions on your data. The best way to do this is by assigning a Creative Commons licence. Note that the UWA Research Integrity Policy recommends using the CC-BY licence where possible.

In order for others to cite your data, it is good practice to assign a DOI (Digital Object Identifier), which is a persistent online address. If you deposit your data in the UWA Profiles and Institutional Repository a DOI will be automatically assigned to your dataset; providing that DOI to journal editors where you are required to publish data along with your articles will meet those requirements. These FAQs explain how to add your dataset to the UWA Profiles and Resarch Repository, the sizes and formats that can be submitted and access restrictions, including mediated access and embargoes.

If your data is sensitive, you might need to de-identify or anonymise the data prior to publication - only data classified as Public should be fully open. By removing identifying elements, a researcher can still benefit from publishing the data while still respecting the privacy of the research subjects and not disclosing sensitive information. The ANDS De-identification Guide collates a selection of Australian and international practice guidelines and resources on how to de-identify datasets. 

Data publishing options

Open Access and Open Data

In a similar way to Open Access for journal articles, Open Data does not place any restrictions on access for research and government data and it is publicly available for sharing and reuse . Anyone can read, copy, download or link to the data free of charge. For more information, see the Open Access Toolkit

The UWA Profiles and Research Repository allows researchers to deposit their research data as well as other research outputs, and to specify how 'open' that dataset will be. It is a good option for publishing your data because it allows you to control access through:

  • Setting an embargo period
  • Assigning the appropriate Creative Commons licence
  • Naming a contact person for those wanting to access your dataset

In addition, the Repository also creates a DOI (Digital Object Identifier) for your dataset to facilitate data citation. The Repository FAQs explain how to add your data to the Repository.

Open data repositories exist in many disciplines, re3data.org has indexed over 2,000 data repositories which can all be accessed and searched via the website. 

Mediated access

Researcher-mediated access allows access to the data after approval from the researchers. This ensures the data is used correctly through the provision of further context. The UWA Profiles and Research Repository can provide mediated access to your data.

Restricted access

Access to your data can be restricted by using password-controlled access to the dataset, while still making the metadata discoverable. Restricted access should apply to:

  • Research data with commercial potential;
  • Medical research containing confidential patient data;
  • Research data containing culturally sensitive information; and
  • Third party data which have contractual agreements.

For more information on how to determine what restrictions should apply to your data refer to the sensitive data decision tree and the UWA data classification for researchers

Licensing your data

The Australian Research Data Commons (formerly ANDS, Australian National Data Service) Licensing and copyright for data reuse page is a good introduction to data licensing. For more in-depth information on licencing and permission, see the ARDC Research Data Rights Management Guide, which addresses copyright and IP rights in data, data rights management for data you own or create, and considerations for data you use. 

Creative Commons licences are often used to specify how your data can be reused. See Copyright at UWA for more information on the licences. ANDS - Licensing and copyright for data reuse describes how these licences may be applied to research data.

Metadata sharing

Even if you are unable to publish your dataset, you might still be able to share its metadata, which still increases discoverability especially when it is housed in a major service such as Research Data Australia (RDA). All research data metadata in the UWA Profiles and Research Repository is harvested into Research Data Australia on a weekly basis. In turn, both the Repository and RDA are indexed by Google, further increasing discoverability of your work. 

Data journals

Data journals are publications whose primary purpose is to expose datasets. Publication in these journals may be of interest to researchers and data producers for whom data is a primary research output. Like many conventional journals, data journals are peer-reviewed and are indexed in major databases. The ANDS guide Data and journals explains the benefits of publishing a data paper in one of these journals.

CONTENT LICENCE

 Except for logos, Canva designs or where otherwise indicated, content in this guide is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International Licence.