RCUK seeks feedback on good practice guidelines for open research data

Research Councils UK (RCUK), on behalf of the UK Open Research Data Forum, has today (17 August 2015) published a draft Concordat on Open Research Data, which sets out expectations of good practice in publishing research data openly.

The Concordat aims to help ensure that research data gathered and generated by members of the UK research community is made openly available for use by others wherever possible, in a manner consistent with relevant legal, ethical and regulatory frameworks and norms. Research data is the information necessary to support or validate a research project’s observations, findings or outputs, and includes statistics, collections of digital images, sound recordings, transcripts of interviews, survey data and fieldwork observations with appropriate annotations.

The societal benefits from making research data open are potentially very significant, and include economic growth, increased resource efficiency, securing public support for research funding and increasing public trust in research.

All those engaged with research have a responsibility to ensure that the data they generate is properly managed, and made accessible, intelligible, assessable and usable by others (unless there are strong reasons to the contrary). Commitment to the principles set out in the Concordat will help demonstrate to government, business, international partners and the wider public that they can expect to see research data made open for the benefit of all where appropriate. However, it should be noted that the intention of the Concordat is not to mandate, codify or require specific activities.

This draft concordat has been developed under the auspices of the UK Open Research Data Forum by a multi-stakeholder working group, which includes RCUK, JISC, the Wellcome Trust and Universities UK. On behalf of the group, RCUK is now seeking views and comments on the Concordat. No specific questions have been posed but comments on any aspects of the Concordat and the value it will have for the UK, and wider, research community are welcomed.

Feedback and comments on the Concordat should be sent to OpenData@rcuk.ac.uk by 28 September 2015.