Research Data Publishing Redefined

By: Daniella Lowenberg 

In considering the title for this post, I struggled to narrow down the range of activities that I work on to a specific name and have landed on research data publishing (which is timely now four years after my first blog for UC3 defining data publishing). The reason this is difficult is that while data publishing may be a relatively new topic in the last decade, it is often tied specifically to depositing data in a repository. But the activities that I believe define data publishing are: 

  • community developed practices and open infrastructure around curation and publication of data
  • open standards and infrastructure for measurement of research data reach and re-use
  • development of considerations for the handling of sensitive data and ethical standards for the publication of data
  • researcher education around policies and incentives for the public release of research data.

In short: it’s not one component (e.g., managing a repository). Specializing in data publishing means focusing on and leading the development of communities of practice around open standards, open infrastructure, and easily understood and accessible workflows for researchers. 

So, what’s the vision for 2021? Well, adoption of course. But in the following areas:

Seamless Connections 

A big area that we’ve invested in is our partnership with Dryad. When considering adoption for Dryad, we are referring to both the researcher and research supporting communities. Seamlessly connecting researchers and research supporters is essential for our globally shared goals to make open data a more commonly accepted and well done practice. A lot of this requires education (shout out to UC’s Love Data Week) but as Product Manager for Dryad I am also thinking through and prioritizing how services and workflows can be educational and as easy as possible. Our iterative product strategy is focused on collaborations and integrations that will make data publishing more seamless and better connected to other components of the research process. We are looking forward to launching our integrations with Zenodo for software, eJournalPress and Editorial Manager for journals, and Frictionless Data for increased quality of our datasets. In terms of the research supporting communities, we are working to build better connections between the growing funders, publishers, and institutions that have long supported or recently joined the Dryad community. 

Open Data Metrics

It’s become increasingly clear that we need a way to evaluate the reach and re-use of openly published research data. The Make Data Count initiative is continuing to build the social and technical infrastructure for open data metrics. Beginning this year, a team of bibliometricians at University of Ottawa and ZBW are initiating qualitative and quantitative studies on data citation and re-use across various scientific disciplines that will influence the development of proper indicators. We are also beginning to map services that will be broadly accessible for repositories to standardize and aggregate data usage and citation. 

Daniella’s book club recommendation —  Open Data Metrics: Lighting the Fire.

Research Data Publishing Ethics

Coming from the journal publishing side of open research, I joined the UC3 team wondering about publication ethics and how to best position our data publishing initiatives, sensitive to the various issues that can arise with research publication. Spearheading a new FORCE11 Working Group, we are proud to launch the Research Data Publishing Ethics WG. This group, that informally began a year ago, with folks from agencies, repositories, publishers, preprint advocates, and research integrity experts, will develop community norms and proposed workflows for data publishers to consider (e.g., publishing identifying information, considering legal standards across countries, authorship disputes). Please join if you have interest in contributing to the development of these standards or would like to follow the conversations! 

While these are a few highlighted areas that we will be focused on in the new year, we are always interested in collaborating or generating new ideas around research data publishing and how to best support researchers in the advancement of their discoveries. If we have learned anything in COVID times, we know that this space is essential. 

This blog is a part of the “A Peek Into 2021 for UC3″ series