Why Share Data?

Strait of Georgia pic Miller 3Access to publicly archived data is a fairly recent development which has been made possible by advances in information technology and communication. Many scientific journals and funding agencies now require that the data (or methods or source codes) associated with a peer-reviewed publication be made freely available. Still, this is a relatively new area for many researchers, many of whom may still feel reluctant about sharing their data.

  1. Leads to increased personal visibility, recognition, and increased numbers of citations.
  2. Data become more easily discoverable for large- scale analyses via their metadata.
  3. Encourages collaboration among researchers to share resources, acquire more data, and produce new findings.
  4. Will assist in the development integrated scientific programs, interdisciplinary studies, modelling and ecosystem management.
  5. Researchers are motivated to produce higher quality data for sharing with peers, the scientific community, and the public.
  6. It reduces the risk of repeating work already done, and instead allows for researchers to build upon the work of others. This saves a lot of time and money.
  7. It allows for informed decision making leading to better environmental planning and policy. 

Concerns about Data Sharing:

  1. Inappropriate use of the shared data
  2. Security concerns over the handling of sensitive or confidential data
  3. Lack of acknowledgement or citation for the shared data
  4. Other researchers may use the data and gain scientific credence, create funding competition, or show that the original research was faulty.

How are we addressing these concerns?

The SGDC is a centralized repository for data for the Strait of Georgia ecosystems. A repository is a location where data are both stored and maintained, and submission of data to a repository such as this enables a researcher to make sure that his or her data are preserved for the long term.

A key objective of the SGDC as a useful data repository is to ensure that the data can be easily discovered, accessed, and potentially, reused.

The SGDC is following best practices around data preservation, storage and access and aims to address users’ concerns by the following:

  • The SGDC practices good data sharing techniques and provide detailed metadata for all data sets that are submitted and archived.
  • We provide clear documentation which allows other researchers to see the data, understand the content and purpose of the research, and which will clarify any security or confidentiality concerns.
  • We provide any links to web sites or other repositories associated with the data which allow for further understanding and for the data to be placed in its context.
  • We will require a data citation for any data that is used from the SGDC which should address appropriate acknowledgement concerns.
  • Data is stored in a centralized repository that is easily accessed.
  • We use proper data citations and unique identifiers for the datasets and other content.
  • Where possible, data are stored in a format that will be readable over the long-term.