State of the art report on open access publishing of research data in the humanities

Auteurs/Authors : Stefan Buddenbohm, Nathanael Cretin, Elly Dijk, Bertrand Gai e, Maaike De Jong, Jean-Luc Minel, Blandine Nouvel

Publishing research data as open data is not yet common practice for researchers in the arts and humanities, and lags behind other scientific fields, such as the natural sciences. Moreover, even when humanities researchers publish their data in repositories and archives, these data are often hard to find and use by other researchers in the field.

The goal of Work Package 7 of the the HaS (Humanities at Scale) DARIAH project is to develop an open humanities data platform for the humanities. Work in task 7.1 is a joint effort of Data Archiving and Networked Services (DANS), Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and the University of Göttingen – State and University Library (UGOE-SUB).

This report gives an overview of the various aspects that are connected to open access publishing of research data in the humanities. After the introduction, where we give definitions of key concepts, we describe the research data life cycle.

We present an overview of the different stakeholders involved and we look into advantages and obstacles for researchers to share research data. Furthermore, a description of the European data repositories is given, followed by certification standards of trusted digital data repositories.

The possibility of data citation is important for sharing open data and is also described in this report. We also discuss the standards and use of metadata in the humanities. Finally, we discuss best practice example of open access research data system in the humanities: the French open research data ecosystem.

With this report we provide information and guidance on open access publishing of humanities research data for researchers. The report is the result of a desk study towards the current state of open access research data and the specific challenges for humanities. It will serve as input for Task 7.2., which will deliver a design and sustainability plan for an open humanities data platform, and for Task 7.3, which will deliver this platform.


Sharing data increases citations

Authors: Thea Marie Drachen, Ole Ellegaard, Asger Væring Larsen, Søren Bertil Fabricius Dorch

This paper presents some indications to the existence of a citation advantage related to sharing data using astrophysics as a case. Through bibliometric analyses we find a citation advantage for astrophysical papers in core journals.

The advantage arises as indexed papers are associated with data by bibliographical links, and consists of papers receiving on average significantly more citations per paper per year, than do papers not associated with links to data.


The Journal Article as a Means to Share Data: a Content Analysis of Supplementary Materials from Two Disciplines

Authors : Jeremy Kenyon, Nancy Sprague, Edward Flathers


The practice of publishing supplementary materials with journal articles is becoming increasingly prevalent across the sciences.

We sought to understand better the content of these materials by investigating the differences between the supplementary materials published by authors in the geosciences and plant sciences.


We conducted a random stratified sampling of four articles from each of 30 journals published in 2013. In total, we examined 297 supplementary data files for a range of different factors.


We identified many similarities between the practices of authors in the two fields, including the formats used (Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, PDFs) and the small size of the files.

There were differences identified in the content of the supplementary materials: the geology materials contained more maps and machine-readable data; the plant science materials included much more tabular data and multimedia content.


Our results suggest that the data shared through supplementary files in these fields may not lend itself to reuse. Code and related scripts are not often shared, nor is much ‘raw’ data. Instead, the files often contain summary data, modified for human reading and use.


Given these and other differences, our results suggest implications for publishers, librarians, and authors, and may require shifts in behavior if effective data sharing is to be realized.

URL : The Journal Article as a Means to Share Data: a Content Analysis of Supplementary Materials from Two Disciplines


Towards a paradigm for open and free sharing of scientific data on global change science in China

Authors : Changhui Peng, Xinzhang Song, Hong Jiang, Qiuan Zhu, Huai Chen, Jing M. Chen, Peng Gong, Chang Jie, Wenhua Xiang, Guirui Yu, Xiaolu Zhou

Despite great progress in data sharing that has been made in China in recent decades, cultural, policy, and technological challenges have prevented Chinese researchers from maximizing the availability of their data to the global change science community.

To achieve full and open exchange and sharing of scientific data, Chinese research funding agencies need to recognize that preservation of, and access to, digital data are central to their mission, and must support these tasks accordingly.

The Chinese government also needs to develop better mechanisms, incentives, and rewards, while scientists need to change their behavior and culture to recognize the need to maximize the usefulness of their data to society as well as to other researchers.

The Chinese research community and individual researchers should think globally and act personally to promote a paradigm of open, free, and timely data sharing, and to increase the effectiveness of knowledge development.

URL : Towards a paradigm for open and free sharing of scientific data on global change science in China


Research Data Sharing and Reuse Practices of Academic Faculty Researchers: A Study of the Virginia Tech Data Landscape

Author : Yi Shen

This paper presents the results of a research data assessment and landscape study in the institutional context of Virginia Tech to determine the data sharing and reuse practices of academic faculty researchers.

Through mapping the level of user engagement in “openness of data,” “openness of methodologies and workflows,” and “reuse of existing data,” this study contributes to the current knowledge in data sharing and open access, and supports the strategic development of institutional data stewardship.

Asking faculty researchers to self-reflect sharing and reuse from both data producers’ and data users’ perspectives, the study reveals a significant gap between the rather limited sharing activities and the highly perceived reuse or repurpose values regarding data, indicating that potential values of data for future research are lost right after the original work is done.

The localized and sporadic data management and documentation practices of researchers also contribute to the obstacles they themselves often encounter when reusing existing data.

URL : Research Data Sharing and Reuse Practices of Academic Faculty Researchers: A Study of the Virginia Tech Data Landscape

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Disciplinary differences in opening research data

The management and widespread sharing of publicly funded research data has gained significant momentum among governments, funders, institutions, journals and data service providers around the world.

However, there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to open research data across academic disciplines. Different disciplines produce different types of data and have various procedures for analysing, archiving and publishing it.

This briefing paper presents the current state of open research data across academic disciplines. It describes disciplinary characteristics inhibiting a larger take-up of open research data mandates.

Additionally it presents the current strategies and policies established by funders, institutions, journals and data service providers alongside general data policies.

URL : Disciplinary differences in opening research data

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Exploring the opportunities and challenges of implementing open research strategies within development institutions

This research proposal calls for support for a pilot project to conduct open data pilot case studies with eight (8) IDRC grantees to develop and implement open data management and sharing plans.

The results of the case studies will serve to refine guidelines for the implementation of development research funders’ open research data policies. The case studies will examine the scale of legal, ethical and technical challenges that might limit the sharing of data from IDRC projects including issues of:

  • Privacy, personally identifiable information and protection of human subject
  • Protection of intellectual property generated from projects or potential for financial risks for projects or institutions
  • Challenges in the local legal environment, including ownership of data
  • Ethical issues in releasing or sharing of indigenous and community knowledge, and the relationship between project participants and investigators particularly in the context of historical expropriation of resources
  • Local and global issues of capacity and expertise in the management and sharing of data

The duration of the current project will be fifteen (16) months, commencing September 2015 and ending in December 2016. The project will focus on auditing the data being produced by the participating projects, supporting the development of data management and sharing plans, and surfacing and cataloguing issues that arise.

URL : Exploring the opportunities and challenges of implementing open research strategies within development institutions

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