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Science Europe publishes guide to preserving research data


Group wants “organisational commitment” to better practices and enhanced collaboration

Science Europe, the association of research funders and performers, has published guidelines to ensure that the vast amount of data produced by research does not get lost, but rather is preserved so that it can be reused and built on.

“Research data are an essential foundation for scientific work; their diversity reflects the wide range of scientific disciplines, and of research interests and methods,” Roland Fischer, vice-president of the German Research Foundation, and Melanie Welham, executive chair of UK Research and Innovation, said in their foreword to the guide.

“Sharing research data for reuse to support scientific progress is increasingly becoming the norm and a growing number of organisations already expect and foster open behaviour regarding such data,” they said, adding that the guide is intended to help organisations develop their own policies and practices for making research data openly available sustainably.

According to the guide published on 2 June, data preservation requires “organisational commitment” from funders, performers and infrastructures “as well as resources and skills at individual, organisational and government level to make sure the necessary funding and structures are available”.

Science Europe therefore wants funders to put in place long-term investment plans for data preservation. It also wants them to raise expectations and insist that researchers be trained in proper data practices, including an understanding of making data findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable.

Ideally, research performing organisations would align their practices with those of funders, according to Science Europe. Its latest guide follows one published in January that detailed how grant reviewers should assess researchers’ data management plans.