Identifying benefits arising from the curation and open sharing of research data produced by UK Higher Education and research institutes

It is becoming increasingly clear that effective and efficient management and reuse of research data will be a key component in the UK knowledge economy in years to come, essential for the efficient conduct of research and its dissemination and use. In recognition of this, there have been many calls for access to science data at national and international levels. JISC and other UK funding bodies have developed a number of initiatives concerned with the management and curation of research data. The report by Lyon (2007) was pivotal in delineating the issues that need to be addressed and this project aims to take forward Recommendation 30: JISC should work in partnership with the research funding bodies and jointly commission a cost-benefit study of data curation and preservation infrastructure. The project’s objectives are to: • Identify the benefits of curating and sharing research data; • Identify a methodology by which to estimate the benefits to UK Higher Education and the UK more generally of curating and openly sharing research data produced by researchers in UK HE; • Use the methodology, as far as possible, to derive an estimate, expressed in financial terms where possible, for the identified benefits; • Document case studies and examples of data re-use, where that re-use led to tangible benefits. Potential benefits of the open sharing and re-use of research data include: maximised investment in data collection; broader access where costs would be prohibitive for individual researchers/institutions; potential for new discoveries from existing data, especially where data are aggregated and integrated; reduced duplication of data collection costs and increased transparency of the scientific record; increased research impact and reduced time-lag in realising those impacts; new collaborations and new knowledge-based industries ...