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PolyU Library

Research Data Management

Sharing good practices for Research Data Management



Why Data Sharing

Sometimes people say the most valuable resource in the world is no longer oil but data. But in academia, research data should be renewable energy, as data can be reused without diminishing its original value.

Sharing data can speed up the pace of discovery. It enables researchers in the same or different research fields to conduct new analyzes and generate new research by reusing the data from new perspectives.

In addition to the altruistic reason above, sharing your research data brings the following benefits:

Create potential collaboration opportunities

Data sharing may lead to collaboration between data users and data creators. Researchers reusing the data for one project may need similar data for another project, leading to an opportunity to collaborate.

Comply with requirements

Funders and journal publishers are increasingly expecting researchers to make the supplementary data of their publications openly available.

Enhance reputation & impact

Data is citable as a standalone scholarly output. Researchers who reuse the shared data will most likely cite the research papers generated from the shared data too.

Preserve for your future use

Your data will be more organized when you prepare it for sharing from the onset as you maintain proper documentation of your data.

Proper documentation of your data can help you to identify, retrieve, and understand your data again even if you become out of touch with it in the future.

Ensure reproducibility of your research

Data sharing enables validation of scientific results. This helps to ensure the reproducibility of your research and thus promotes scientific integrity.

Benefit teaching

Reproducing published results from an existing dataset can be an excellent way for students to learn how to organize and analyze similar data in their future research.

As open as possible, as closed as necessary

Not all research data is suitable for sharing, like when...

  • The data involves legitimate commercial interests.
  • Sharing of data will create safety or security issues for the people or organizations concerned.
  • Sharing of data is in opposition to regulations related to the protection of personal data.
    (Most of this issue can be avoided with informed consent from the participants and proper anonymization.)
  • Sharing of data would prevent achieving the main goal of the research project, e.g. the nesting sites of endangered species.

If the funder or journal publisher requires data sharing, and your research data involves the issues above or other legitimate reasons, you can provide justification for not sharing your data in your Data Management Plan. However, majority of research data should not be affected by these issues.



Data Anonymization Tools

Data anonymization tools are software applications that protect sensitive data by removing identifying information from datasets. These tools are commonly used by organizations that need to share or publish data but also need to protect the privacy and security of individuals represented in the data.

ARX is an open source software for anonymizing sensitive personal information. The software has been utilized in a wide range applications, including research projects and clinical trial data sharing.