Describe how you will share data with reviewers and other researchers. Funding agencies and journals have different expectations for data sharing, so consult the agency or journal's official instructions.
What data will you share with other researchers?
- If you use data from a public-access repository, you may be able to refer people to the original data rather than distribute it yourself. In this case, you should provide links to these data in any documentation and publications.
Who will have access to your data?
- Common people to consider in this situation are other researchers (in your field and beyond) and the general public. In some cases, depending on the nature of your project, you can share data with both groups without restriction. In other cases, you may be able to share data with other researchers but not the general public. Explain any such conditions.
How will other researchers find and obtain your data after your project is complete?
- Please refer to "Public-access repositories, archives, and databases" for data repositories, including the Digital Repository at the University of Maryland (DRUM).
- If you have identified a public-access repository, data center, or archive for your data, you will have to comply with their policies and requirements for access and sharing. Note any restrictions on access.
- Avoid using your personal website, or your team's website, to share data. Funding agencies increasingly view this method as potentially unstable in the long run. It's preferred to deposit your materials in a dedicated repository or archive and then use the links provided by the archive to share data (on your site or wherever).
- Depending on the nature of your data or the availability of public-access repositories, you may have to stipulate that your data "will be available on request.” However, you should avoid this method if possible. Funding agencies and journals are increasingly dissatisfied with this method, viewing it as a barrier to efficient public access. If you are compelled to take this approach, contact the program officer or editor in advance for guidance.
- If you cannot find an appropriate data repository or archive, contact the program officer or editor for direction.
How soon will other researchers or the public have access to your data?
- Consult the funding agency or journal's requirements for guidelines.
- If there is no explicit length of time in the official instructions, answer this item with reference to the customary practices in your field. Making your data available when you publish associated findings is typical, but norms vary by field. Delays that exceed customary practices will require more substantial justification.
If you produce confidential or sensitive data, how will the measures you take to protect subjects affect public access?
If you are working under the terms of an IRB, how will they affect public access?
Are there any additional federal, institutional, professional, or sponsor regulations that will affect public access?
Will you have any special security provisions or data use agreements?
Are there any intellectual property issues, such as ownership, copyright, or potential commercialization, that will affect public access?
- For research products generated under federal agency awards, all intellectual property developed by researchers and students and all intellectual property rights therein shall belong to the University unless an exception or waiver is granted. In many cases, this will not prevent you from sharing data and other materials with researchers or the general public, but conditions apply when your activities involve materials transfer, inventions, patents, royalties from inventions, third-party contracts, and other special circumstances. Contact the Office of Research Administration for guidance on your situation.