Course opens access to research data

A free, online training course delivered by the University is making it possible for more research data to be openly shared.

The course is designed to encourage Open Access (OA) - the practice of publishing content such as journal articles to make it freely available to their readers.

It is being launched as research funders increasingly require that the data underlying the research results be openly shared, as well the research outcomes.

The University’s Research Data Management Training course - called MANTRA - is helping researchers to plan for sharing their data.

Barriers to sharing

Researchers in many disciplines are unaccustomed to providing public access to their data.

A key reason is ‘fear of scooping’ in which another author might publish an article that gets more attention than the data creator’s own publication.

There are also concerns about confidentiality and some data being commercially sensitive.

Training can help researchers overcome fears that they might have about sharing data.

These can include potential embarrassment about errors found in their data, or poor documentation that means data cannot be re-used.

Social or medical researchers may also be unclear about how to obtain informed consent from subjects for sharing their data in advance, or how to anonymise or aggregate their results.

Storage tips

The content of the course covers data formats, the processing of big data and cases of scientific fraud.

It gives researchers tips on storing data securely and how to cite a dataset in a publication. The course is unassessed and requires no registration.

The self-paced format allows learners to pick and choose which topics they study. Video clips of researchers talking about their practice and interactive quizzes are used to enhance and lighten the tone of the learning modules
Robin RiceData Librarian

Widely used

The training course has been adopted by a number of graduate schools in the University, and the Research Data Management Programme.

It is available through the Institute for Academic Development’s website as well as Information Services, where it was created.

The Data Library team has updated the course to ensure its continuing relevance after three years of existence. The course is popular at research institutions throughout the UK and beyond.

Related Links

Research Data MANTRA

Research Data Management Programme

Edinburgh Data Science