Why deposit your data?
There are two main reasons for depositing your research data with the Australian Data Archive: to ensure that your data is preserved for the future, and to enable it to be shared with others for secondary analysis.
Benefits to you
There are significant benefits to you as a researcher in depositing your data:
- Your data will be stored indefinitely in a safe place, where it is easily accessible, and in a form that can be understood long after the study was originally conducted. This is useful if you are obliged to store the data for several years following the publication of results.
- The potential impact of your data is greatly increased. Other researchers, even from other disciplines, will be able to use your data (subject to the conditions you specify) to investigate issues that you may not have the desire or resources to pursue.
- Anyone who publishes results from your data is expected to cite the data file in their publications. This will result in increased citations for you and your colleages.
- Distribution of the data and documentation is managed without expense to the person who originally conducted the research. If other people become interested in the data, you will not need to be concerned with the cost and inconvenience of providing a copy for them.
- Publicity for your data: your data is published in the ADA data catalogue, raising the profile of your research.
- Sharing data through ADA allows you to get in touch with other researchers with similar research data interests to you.
- You can find your own data in future. Should you have difficulties in locating or accessing your data in the future, you will have a preserved version of the data held with ADA.
The NHMRC/ARC Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (ACRCR) also strongly promotes data preservation and sharing. Section 2 of the ACRCR relates to the management of research data. It suggests:
- both institutions and individual researchers have an obligation to preserve research data, in a secure environment and allow others to access it where appropriate,
- datasets should be kept by departments, institutional repositories or national repositories, rather than only by the researcher, and
- the value of material for other research where the research is difficult or impossible to repeat must be considered.
Benefits to the Research Community
Sharing data builds a stronger research community by:
- Providing researchers and students access to high quality data.
- Allowing verification, replication and extension,
- Supporting multidisciplinary, multi-institution research,
- Reducing the duplication of similar research
It is important to the scientific method that social science data generated from research projects be available for replication, verification and extension. A researcher can access data from ADA, verify the results of the original investigator, conduct analyses not performed by the original investigator, or use the data, survey instruments and methods to guide their own original research.
The costs of data collection are high, and beyond the reach of most students. For those with limited access to research funding. Archived data allows the students to learn about research method and analysis in a practical way.
The importance of sharing has been recognised by funding bodies in Australia and internationally (including UNESCO, the UK Economic and Social Research Council, the US National Science Foundation, NHMRC and the ARC) and is now considered a vital part of the research process.
Benefits to the Public
The dissemination of research data and results also has potential benefits for the general public. For example, the Australian National University (in their Position Statement on Open Access) has identified that:
"The University has an obligation to share research outcomes with the global community, many members of which do not enjoy the same level of investment in research experienced in Australia. The ability to participate and share in scientific and cultural advancement is a declared human right.
Traditional publication channels do not necessarily place scholarly works into the public domain promptly and at low cost to the user. The University supports prompt open dissemination where possible to avoid these barriers."
Publishing data through the Australian Data Archive enables the public to gain access to research data that would otherwise be inaccessible.