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University of Michigan School of Information


Developing Evidence-based Data Sharing and Archiving Policies

Access to original research data supports innovative, interdisciplinary, and integrative research, and enables replication and review of prior work. Consequently, a growing number of funding agencies, journal publishers, and scientific societies now require that original research data must be shared and archived promptly after its collection or publication.

However, there are still many unanswered questions about the best way to share and archive research data. For instance: how can data repositories best allocate their limited resources for different aspects of data archiving and processing? What is the most effective way of making data usable by the broadest audience? What data sharing policies most effectively achieve stakeholders? transparency and innovation goals? This project answers these questions by studying the impact of different "curatorial actions" (e.g., standardizing variables, improving documentation) on the reuse of data archived by the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR).

As one of the largest social science archives in the world and a leader in digital data curation practice, ICPSR is well-suited as a site for this project. ICPSR is also well-positioned to provide funding agencies and policy makers recommendations for data sharing policies that articulate the metrics needed in evaluating the appropriateness of data sharing and curation plans and their associated costs. This project achieves broader impacts by (1) recommending evidence-based data sharing policies to funders, repository staff,, and researchers and (2) improving research data curation practices.

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The amount of the award is $69,659 for UMSI for the project period. The grant is funded by the National Science Foundation.