On the Reuse of Scientific Data

Authors : Irene V. Pasquetto, Bernadette M. Randles, Christine L. Borgman

While science policy promotes data sharing and open data, these are not ends in themselves. Arguments for data sharing are to reproduce research, to make public assets available to the public, to leverage investments in research, and to advance research and innovation.

To achieve these expected benefits of data sharing, data must actually be reused by others. Data sharing practices, especially motivations and incentives, have received far more study than has data reuse, perhaps because of the array of contested concepts on which reuse rests and the disparate contexts in which it occurs.

Here we explicate concepts of data, sharing, and open data as a means to examine data reuse. We explore distinctions between use and reuse of data.

Lastly we propose six research questions on data reuse worthy of pursuit by the community: How can uses of data be distinguished from reuses? When is reproducibility an essential goal? When is data integration an essential goal? What are the tradeoffs between collecting new data and reusing existing data? How do motivations for data collection influence the ability to reuse data? How do standards and formats for data release influence reuse opportunities?

We conclude by summarizing the implications of these questions for science policy and for investments in data reuse.

URL : On the Reuse of Scientific Data

DOI : http://doi.org/10.5334/dsj-2017-008