Share Your Story of Research Data Re-use!

Back in October 2015, I posted an invitation to jump into the firehose of open data with me. To my delight, Stephanie Wykstra of Innovations for Poverty Action took me up on the offer and plunged in head first.

We know that data sharing makes research more reproducible and expands the value of collected data by making it available to others for re-use.  However, in some fields, we do not yet have much evidence about how or which data from original studies are being re-used or the challenges researchers face when they attempt to use these data for further research. Stephanie and I would like to start filling this gap by putting out a call for case studies to:

  • Highlight valuable research data sharing, and thereby start to reward original researchers for their contribution in sharing their data.
  • Improve our understanding of data re-use: what datasets are particularly valuable to researchers and why? What challenges arise when re-using other people’s data for further research?
  • Increase the quality of shared data with expanded development of data management best practices through identification of needs and barriers in data reuse.

What We’re Looking For

If you have re-used data for your own research, we would love to hear from you! Here are the parameters of the call:

  1. You re-used data in your research, which was originally collected by other researchers for their own study. Your study (and the original study) may be quantitative, qualitative or mixed methods. However, the re-used data must have been collected as a part of an original research study and must not be census or other large-scale survey data which are often re-used in the normal course of research. (We can find many cases of re-used longitudinal survey/administrative data, but fewer cases of re-use in other areas.)
  2. We’d like to collect case studies in which data re-use has led to a new publication. If the data were re-used for a report or article outside of a traditional peer-reviewed journal, we are still interested!
  3. We’re open to hearing case studies in all scientific fields. We’d especially welcome cases in the social sciences, where we know of few cases of research data re-use.
  4. While using original data to conduct re-analysis of the original research is very valuable, we’re more focused here on use of the data to go beyond the original research results (i.e., using the data to draw further conclusions, rather than checking the original conclusions).

How To Participate

We’d ask that you share some information about your data re-use case with us. To make this easier, we’ve created a form  to share your case study:

We’re interested in:

  1.  What made the data that you re-used valuable for your own research?
  2. What made the data easy or challenging to re-use?  AND
  3. Your advice to researchers who are sharing their data for re-use.

After hearing from you via the form, we will get in touch if we have any follow-up questions to be sure we understand the details of your case to include in our write-up. The deadline for submitting your case study is March 10, 2016.

Why Participate

If you have used others’ data, you have valuable information to share with the wider community about your experience. Others can learn from you and you may learn something helpful too!

Sharing your experience will give credit to the original researchers by highlighting what made their data valuable and re-usable.

What We’ll Do With The Case Studies

We will make all responses publicly available in our report (with your permission). Depending on funding, we may be able to sponsor researchers who provide case studies to a workshop on data re-use.  Workshop participants would be invited to present their research and explore data re-use within a wider community with the desired outcome being a white paper on needs and best practices for data re-use.

Please spread this call far and wide to any you think would be interested in participating.  If you have questions, feel free to email either Stephanie Wykstra (@Swykstr) or myself (@shefw).

With your stories, we can further the cause of open data.   Jump on in… the water is fine.