Penn State Data Management Plan Tutorial

4.3 Summary

Printer-friendly version

The DMP should describe how the project will share data, making them publicly available (unless the data are restricted) for broad access and sharing. Providing access to data is responsible science and helps ensure verifiability of the research results.

It is worthwhile thinking how data in your field are typically shared and accessed. Perhaps there are certain data repositories that hold data sets in your field that you and your lab team frequently consult. Increasingly, the practice for researchers is not to keep their data on a hard drive and distribute it on request but to deposit them to a repository, linking to them from publications and laboratory websites, so that they can be discoverable and findable.

The DMP also typically states when the data will be made available, whether during the project or after it. If embargoes will be implemented, then this fact needs to be surfaced as well, with accompanying information about any time constraints. Similarly, will all the data be shared, or only some of them? If the DMP hasn't addressed levels of access (e.g., who is permitted access to the data), then this is where that information should be given, too.

Check Your Understanding

True or False: The current best practice for data sharing is to state in your DMP that your research data is available upon request.

(a) True
(b) False

test-bulbClick for answer.

ANSWER: (b) False. Increasingly, funding agencies wish to see in DMPs that researchers will share their data via data repositories, or an institution-wide repository service like Penn State’s ScholarSphere. By depositing data into a repository service, the onus is removed from the researcher in making sure the data are preserved over the long term and thus accessible on an ongoing basis. This way, researchers can post the permanent link or URL or DOI for the data set to the project website and be assured the data set will continue to be accessible.