Why share research data?

Before sharing data during a project or after the project is finished, you need to make sure that you have considered the implications of doing so, in terms of copyright and IP ownership, and ethical requirements like privacy and confidentiality.

See also:
How to share.
Ethics and data sharing


Sharing research data:

  • promotes the research that created the data and its outcomes
  • increases the impact and visibility of research
  • can provide a direct credit to the researcher through data citation
  • promotes innovation and potential new data uses
  • encourages scientific enquiry and debate
  • leads to new collaborations between data users and data creators
  • maximises transparency and accountability
  • enables scrutiny of research findings
  • encourages the improvement and validation of research methods
  • reduces research duplication
  • provides important resources for education and training

Expectations from journals and funding agencies

Sharing research data is now actively encouraged by funding agencies and journal publishers.

Funding agencies

The Australian Research Council (ARC) and National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) outline data sharing requirements for researchers in the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research:

Research data should be made available for use by other researchers unless this is prevented by ethical, privacy or confidentiality matters [Section 2.5.2]

The Australian Research Council (ARC) Funding Rules for 2012 state:

The Final Report must justify why any publications from a Project have not been deposited in appropriate repositories within 12 months of publication. The Final Report must outline how data arising from the Project has been made publicly accessible where appropriate. (Section 13.3.2)

The revised Funding Agreement of the National Health and Medical Research Council states:

If required by an NHMRC policy about the dissemination of research findings, the Administering Institution must deposit any publication resulting from a Research Activity, and its related data, in an appropriate subject and/or open access repository (such as the Australian Consortium for Social and Political Research Inc. archive or databases listed under the National Centre for Biotechnology Information) in accordance with the timeframe and other requirements set out in that policy. (Paragraph 12.9)

Revised Policy on Dissemination of Research Findings (2012)

As of 1 July 2012 the NHMRC requires any publication arising from an NHMRC supported research project be deposited into an open access institutional repository within a twelve month period from the date of publication.

In a February 2012 editorial article about open access, the CEO of the NHMRC stated that:

The next steps will be improving public and other researchers’ access to publicly funded data. NHMRC is a signatory to the Joint Statement on Data Sharing of Public Health Research, demonstrating our commitment to the timely and responsible sharing of public health data.


Journal publishers increasingly require that data associated with publications be made accessible for sharing and re-use, including the journals Science and Nature.

Nature - Availability of data and materials policy states that:

An inherent principle of publication is that others should be able to replicate and build upon the authors' published claims. Therefore, a condition of publication in a Nature journal is that authors are required to make materials, data and associated protocols promptly available to readers without undue qualifications.