Share your thoughts to make data sharing simpler and more efficient

For a consistent set of data guidelines, FAIRSharing, DataCite and publishers want to know what you need

Volunteers talk about data sharing at a DataDive at Google headquarters in New York City. (Photo by Alison Bert)

Research data is is the foundation on which scientific, technical and medical knowledge is built. As a researcher, you are encouraged – and sometimes mandated – to make research data available, accessible, discoverable and usable.

Currently, publishers and journals have different guidelines when it comes to research data, with many developing data policies to ensure that datasets are deposited and made accessible via appropriate data repositories. Using a unified set of data policies could simplify processes for researchers and increase efficiency for data repositories.

We’re asking for your input in refining those guidelines.

In 2016, the FAIR data principles were published to offer guidelines to support communities’ needs on data sharing and improve the “Findability, Accessibility, Interoperability and Reuse” of data.

The guidance around the “A” in FAIR data principles – accessibility – states that data should be deposited in a trusted data repository. In response to this guidance, publishers have independently created lists of approved repositories that reflect the research focus of their journals and the communities they serve. However, often the lists of approved repositories for authors to use differs substantially due to there being thousands of data repository options available, a lack of common selection criteria, and an overarching lack of consensus on what constitutes a good data repository.

To tackle this issue, FAIRsharing and DataCite have joined forces with a group of publisher representatives who are actively implementing data policies and recommending data repositories to researchers. Their aim is to:

  • Reduce complexity for researchers when preparing their submissions to journals.
  • Increase efficiency for data repositories that currently have to work with all individual publishers.
  • Simplify the process of recommending data repositories for publishers.

As a contributor to this project, Elsevier is seeking to refine the current guidance to authors when selecting a data repository for their research outputs, ensuring that this is consistent with FAIR data principles and aligned with the language used by other publishers.

Marina Soares e Silva, PhDDr. Marina Soares e Silva, Product Manager for Research Data at Elsevier, said:

I find it really refreshing to be able to come together with other representatives from the industry to think about the evolving needs of authors and how best to meet them. I hope that this project will make it simpler for researchers to select a data repository. Language plays an important role in the selection process, so I think its really important that we are able to provide consistent guidance to all authors that want to share their data.

The proposed criteria for defining data repositories are intended to:

  • Guide journals and publishers in providing authors with consistent recommendations and guidance on data deposition, and improve authors’ data sharing practices;
  • Reduce potential for confusion of researchers and support staff, and reduce duplication of effort by different publishers and data repositories
  • Inform data repository developers and managers of the features believed to be important by journals and publishers;
  • Apprise certification and other evaluation initiatives, serving as a reference and perspective from journals and publishers;
  • Drive the curation of the description of the data repository in FAIRsharing, which will enable display, filter and search based on these criteria.

This article is based on the abstract of the preprint article FAIRsharing Collaboration with DataCite and Publishers: Data Repository Selection, Criteria That Matter , which stemmed from the project undertaken by FAIRSharing, DataCite and contributing publishers.

We encourage you to read the article and invite you to provide us with feedback via this form.


Written by

Rachael Delevante

Written by

Rachael Delevante

Rachael Delevante is a Solution Marketing Manager for Elsevier’s Research Intelligence team. With 10 years’ of experience across a variety of international marketing roles, she moved to Amsterdam last summer to join Elsevier. Prior to this, she was based in London working for Ernst & Young in the Global Brand Marketing & Communications department, supporting the firm’s Assurance practice. Rachel holds a MA (hons) degree in International Business Management from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh.


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