Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Research Data Management: Sharing Data

Leap Into Research Event organised by the Library and Research Innovation Office and opened by Principal Andrea Nolan.As part of Edinburgh Napier University’s Research Data Management Policy, all data that have been selected for retention should be made openly available with as few restrictions, wherever possible. Datasets can be deposited in Repository@Napier, and national repository services such as the UK Data Service run by the EPSRC.

Five Reasons To Share Your Data

1. Your results can be reproduced and independently verified, demonstrating the rigour of your research,

2. Your data can assist fellow researchers to solve related problems,

3. Your data could lead to innovations in policies, products, and services, 

4. Your data can reach the widest audience possible, and

5. The impact of your data can be traced and measured.

Open Data

“Publicly funded research data are a public good, produced in the public interest, which should be made openly available with as few restrictions as possible in a timely and responsible manner that does not harm intellectual property.”

RCUK Common Principles on Data Policy

“We recognise publicly-funded research data as valuable, long-term resources that, where practical, must be made available for secondary scientific research.”

Economic & Social Research Council Research Data Policy 

“...publicly-funded research data are a public good, produced in the public interest and that they should be openly available to the maximum extent possible.”

Medical Research Council Data Sharing Policy

"We believe that success in maximising the value of research data depends crucially on fostering a culture in which both data generators and data users adopt good research practice, and act with integrity and transparency in managing, using and sharing research data."

Wellcome Trust Policy on Data Management and Sharing


Data Licences

When sharing data, it is important to consider how you want your data to be reused. You can then apply a relevant licence that most closely reflects those intended uses. Applying an explicit licence removes any ambiguity over what users can and cannot do with your data. Lawyers can craft licences to meet specific criteria, but there are a number of open licences developed for widespread use on the internet that anyone can apply.

The Open Knowledge Foundation's definition of 'open knowledge' says that knowledge is open if "one is free to use, reuse, and redistribute it without legal, social or technological restriction." Similarly, the Panton Principles for Open Data in Science state that "for science to effectively function, and for society to reap the full benefits from scientific endeavours, it is crucial that science data be made open." Open data therefore means not only do users have the right to download and use the data, but they have the right to make copies for their own purposes, including data mining and other machine processing. 

An open licence clarifies the intellectual property rights in a given work and gives others permission to use it as they wish but with certain conditions attached, such as providing a citation to the original work, just as is normally done within the scholarly publishing system. 

The Open Data Commons recommends one of three licenses for data and you can read more about these below.

By Creative commons ( [CC BY 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Creative Commons (CC) licences are another popular example of licencing for digital works. They provide robust legal code combined with a human-readable summary that is understandable at a glance, and also a machine-to-machine layer of code that will help make information resources interoperable across systems. More information about the Creative Commons licences is available at 


With thanks to;

The University of Edinburgh (2015) Research Data MANTRA. Available at: