FSD Bulletin

Issue 30 (2/2010)
17.6.2010

ISSN 1795-5262

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FSD Bulletin is the electronic newsletter of the Finnish Social Science Data Archive. The Bulletin provides information and news related to the data archive and social science research.


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Finnish Social Science Data Archive
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Central Research Funders Support Open Access to Research Data

Sami Borg

Research funders all over the world have awakened to promote open access to digital research data for real. The Academy of Finland has been in the vanguard after deciding already a couple of years ago to require researchers applying for funding to submit a data management plan.

This year, one of the most significant research funders in the world, the National Science Foundation (NSF) of the United States, will join the ranks. Its decision to require a data management plan from every researcher applying for funding in every scientific field fits well with a few years ago published OECD recommendation to promote access to research data from public funding. The data policies of research funders centrally support the open re-use of research data. Openness results in larger user groups, which makes research investments more effective and secures the quality of research.

The possibilities to implement the OECD recommendation in Finland are currently charted by the Research Data project group commissioned by the Ministry of Education and Culture. The steering group of the project includes the representatives of the scientific community, ministries, and central research funders. The research work is carried out by CSC - IT Center for Science Ltd. and a group of experts.

The project published an in-depth intermediate report this spring, and it hits the nail on the head with excellent precision. The report summarises the central observations and development needs as follows:

  • Expensively produced data are not described in sufficient detail, and their re-use is not supported.
  • The culture and practices of data sharing can be promoted through recommendations and encouragement.
  • The data policies governing research data need to be clear and require implementation at the ministerial level and right down to unit level.
  • Immediate action should be taken to draw up the national data infrastructure and build it to provide modular e-services.
  • The current legislation should be amended to better support the role of research and innovation in the information society and ensure easy access to research data.

The project will conclude at the end of 2010. Now if ever it can be expected that research funders and the central producers of publicly funded research data in Finland awaken to see the possibilities of open access to research data and data life cycle management.

Have a great summer!

 

More information and sources:
» Mervis, Jeffrey (2010). NSF to Ask Every Grant Applicant for Data Management Plan. ScienceInsider. Breaking news and analysis from the world of science policy. 5.5.2010. Online journal: <http://news.sciencemag.org/scienceinsider/2010/05/nsf-to-ask-every-grant-applicant.html> [cited 15.6.2010].
» Academy of Finland: Research plan/Structure of research plan
» OECD Principles and Guidelines for Access to Research Data from Public Funding. OECD, 2007. Online PDF document: <http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/9/61/38500813.pdf> [cited 15.6.2010].
» The intermediate report of the Research Data project group