Increasing the availability of research data for reuse is in part being driven by research data policies and the number of funders and journals and institutions with some form of research data policy is growing. The research data policy landscape of funders, institutions and publishers is however too complex (Ref: http://insights.uksg.org/articles/10.1629/uksg.284/) and the implementation and implications of policies for researchers can be unclear. While around half of researchers share data, their primary motivations are often to carry out and publish good research, and to receive renewed funding, rather than making data available. Data policies that support publication of research need to be practical and seen in this context to be effective beyond specialist data communities and publications.
Use cases and user scenarios
The prevalence of research data policies from institutions and research funders (such as the UK research councils and European Commission) is increasing, so publishers and editors are paying more attention to standardisation and the wider adoption of data sharing policies. The International Committee of Medicial Journal Editors has proposed a draft data sharing policy; Springer Nature is implementing a standardised research data policy framework with four standard data policy types, each with a defined set of requirements, and is encouraging adoption across all its journals (Ref: http://www.springernature.com/gb/group/media/press-releases/over-600-springer-nature-journals-commit-to-new-data-sharing-policies/11111248 ). More than 600 journals have adopted one of these policies as of December 2016. This policy framework is available for reuse by others under a Creative Commons license but requires wider debate in the research and publishing communities. We envisage there to be common elements of research data policy shared between all stakeholders, such as support for data repositories and data citation.
Much of this work draws on earlier Jisc activity in examining the potential for a tabulation of publisher research data policies. Naughton and Kernohan (2015) [http://insights.uksg.org/articles/10.1629/uksg.284/ ] reported that the journal data policy landscape was not at the required maturity to be comparable or indexable in this way. Jisc is therefore committed to working with publishers in supporting the standardisation of journal data policies, with an end goal of supporting machine readable policies that would be easier for researchers and research support staff to utilize in selecting a suitable journal for publication, ensuring compliance with journal and funder data requirements.
Objectives and Outcomes
A Group on standardising and implementing research data policies that support publication of research could facilitate such a debate. It will also aim to:
Help define a common framework for research data policy allowing for different levels of commitment and requirements and disciplinary differences that could be agreed by multiple stakeholders
Produce guidance for researchers on complying with research data policy and the tools to support compliance
Provide guidance for editors, publishers and institutions on implementing data policies and translating policy into practice
Facilitate greater understanding of the landscape of research data policies across disciplines, institutions and learned societies
Increase adoption of (standardised) research data policies by all stakeholders in particular journals and publishers
Highlight examples of good/best practice in research data policy
Engage scholarly societies and journal editors on data policy implementation
Feed in an understanding of the needs of researchers and research support staff in this area
Connect stakeholders and broaden a collective understanding of their roles and relationships in data policy implementation
Minutes from first informal meeting of this group at RDA 8th Plenary are here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1jtJyJVNOXyjondprQXvHH9xJfEDeovhchShi...
While the focus of the policies developed by the Group would be on publishing research data, multiple stakeholders (publishers, institutions, repositories, societies, funders) will be included. Common elements of data policy likely exist for all these stakeholders and this will be explored.
The proposed group would complement the Practical Policy WG (https://rd-alliance.org/groups/practical-policy-wg.html) as this proposed group has a specific focus on journals and publishing with a goal of harmonising and standardising policy. These seem to be prerequisites to and would feed into efforts to create machine readable and actionable policies.
The proposed group would also complement efforts aimed at publishing and citing research data, as data policy of publications should help raise awareness of both these activities.
Co-chairs will have regular conference calls (every 1-2 months) and communicate updates to group members via the RDA group mailing list and using other RDA communication resources as needed e.g. group wiki, file repository. Group members will be invited to a group/community call that will take place every 2-3 months, after an initial meeting of the group at the RDA plenary - currently scheduled for April 2017.
We will use collaborative editing tools (Google Drive etc) to rapidly share outcomes of calls, key documents and to solicit feedback from group members.
The first 6-9 months will involve further discussions with members and stakeholders to prioritise the objectives and secure support for delivering them, which might require the creation of sub-groups focused on specific tasks. We envisage our first priority to be the first listed objective, to “Help define a common framework for research data policy allowing for different levels of commitment and requirements and disciplinary differences that could be agreed by multiple stakeholders”, to support academic publishers and others in developing usable and practical research data policies. We aim to deliver a draft document, reviewed by group members, by September 2017.
Our goal is to evolve from an Interest Group to a Working Group by September 2017, and no later than April 2018, in coordination with RDA plenary meetings.
Iain Hrynaszkiewicz (firstname.lastname@example.org), Springer Nature (group proposer)
Natasha Simons, ANDS
Simone Taylor, Wiley
David Kernohan, Jisc