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Why it is important to share research data.

The ultimate goal of majority research projects these days is to improve the life of the society. The amount of data generated by researchers is rapidly growing. It is especially relevant for medical and biological sciences in the post genomic era. Since it is mostly public money that is used to fund research, it is no wonder that members of the scientific communities are increasingly expected to demonstrate the impact of their work. This is conventionally done via publishing results in peer reviewed journals. Unfortunately, not all data generated during a research project end up in a publication. There are multiple reasons for this: there can be not enough data to make a conclusion, the results might be too controversial, or it can be just failed experiments. Ideally, all generated data should be made available to the research community. This could prevent duplication of efforts and help learning from other people’s mistakes.
Alas, data sharing is one of the least motivating activities in a research project! Very often the process of data deposition to a repository is cumbersome and time-consuming. Data formats and data annotations vary per repository, and this in turn makes access and reuse of data a difficult process. Collecting information about existing data repositories, policies and standards in one place is one of the ways to promote skillful handling of research data.


This is a great chance for you to influence practices of data sharing!
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In 2011, the University of Oxford and the Nature Publishing Group launched – a project that aims to centralise bioscience data policies, reporting standards and links to other related portals.
It contains information about multiple standards in the life sciences, broadly covering biological, natural and biomedical sciences. It is supported and promoted by multiple peer reviewed journals, portals and libraries.


More information can be found here.


Today is asking you to take a few minutes to answer a few questions, so that they can prioritise improvements to BioSharing’s capabilities in a way most appropriate to your needs as a researcher.
If you generate research data, write research papers and use data repositories, please consider sharing your opinion about content standards and data annotation with This is a great chance to influence practices of data sharing!

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