Strategy for Sharing and Mediating Data, Swedish National Data Service

  • Carlhed C
  • Alfreddson I
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Abstract

The current key actors in Sweden, which are promoting research infrastructure and accessibility to research data, put into context. The Swedish National Data Services (SND) organization, mission, and strategy to promote data sharing is also described. SNDs strategy is a combination of top-down and bottomup activities. An example of a top-down activity is to influence research funders to put higher demands on future open access data when studies are completed or to support researchers through the whole research process by providing guidelines on ethical and legal issues. Examples of bottom-up activities are to be present in different research contexts and to inform about the benefits of sharing data. One example of this is a joint project with SND and four university libraries. SND has conducted a national inventory survey, initiated in the fall of 2008, of existing databases and database research, as well as attitudes towards data sharing among researchers and university managements within social sciences and humanities departments at Swedish universities and university colleges. In addition to the inventory process, two survey studies have been carried out in spring 2009, one targeting professors and the other doctoral students in the same domains of disciplines at Swedish universities and university colleges. The questionnaire contained 80 items covering the researchers affiliations; domain of discipline; gender; age; familiarities with research policies and ventures; and use, reuse, and archiving practices of digital research data. Furthermore, there were questions about possible reasons for not using digital data, interventions and barriers to enhanced reuse and accessibility to data, possible agents in overcoming barriers, and willingness to share their digital research data. The surveys were carried out through email questionnaires sent to professors (N=549) and doctoral students (N=1147). The results from the surveys show that doctoral students in general expressed great uncertainty about questions of amounts of reusable digital data and effective interventions to enhance accessibility to digital research data. They identified research ethical aspects as important barriers to sharing digital research data, while professors emphasize lack ofresources for researchers to document and make their data accessible for others as the most important obstacle. Concerning interventions to enhancing reuse of digital data, the majority of the doctoral students and the professors thought it should be effective to get more information about accessible research data in data archives or databases. Nearly 100% in both groups reported that more training in research methods, digital research databases, and information about accessible e-tools would be effective interventions. The most effective interventions for enhancing accessibility to digital data were that research grants should include funds for preparing the data for sharing and archiving and that archiving data for use by the scientific community is acknowledged to be of scientific merit. Surprisingly, when it comes to the degree of urgency in sharing their own data, the professors seem to be a bit more eager to share data than the doctoral students. The results are compared with the results from the parallel study of the professors and from a recent survey targeted at professors in various social sciences and humanities disciplines at Finnish universities (Kuula and Borg, 2008).

Author-supplied keywords

  • re use
  • sharing
  • sweden

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Authors

  • C and Carlhed

  • I Alfreddson

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