Authors : Joachim Schöpfel, Coline Ferrant, Francis Andre, Renaud Fabre
The purpose of this paper is to present empirical evidence on the opinion and behaviour of French scientists (senior management level) regarding research data management (RDM).
The results are part of a nationwide survey on scientific information and documentation with 432 directors of French public research laboratories conducted by the French Research Center CNRS in 2014.
The paper presents empirical results about data production (types), management (human resources, IT, funding, and standards), data sharing and related needs, and highlights significant disciplinary differences.
Also, it appears that RDM and data sharing is not directly correlated with the commitment to open access. Regarding the FAIR data principles, the paper reveals that 68 per cent of all laboratory directors affirm that their data production and management is compliant with at least one of the FAIR principles.
But only 26 per cent are compliant with at least three principles, and less than 7 per cent are compliant with all four FAIR criteria, with laboratories in nuclear physics, SSH and earth sciences and astronomy being in advance of other disciplines, especially concerning the findability and the availability of their data output.
The paper concludes with comments about research data service development and recommendations for an institutional RDM policy.
For the first time, a nationwide survey was conducted with the senior research management level from all scientific disciplines. Surveys on RDM usually assess individual data behaviours, skills and needs. This survey is different insofar as it addresses institutional and collective data practice.
The respondents did not report on their own data behaviours and attitudes but were asked to provide information about their laboratory. The response rate was high (>30 per cent), and the results provide good insight into the real support and uptake of RDM by senior research managers who provide both models (examples for good practice) and opinion leadership.