The Data Harvest : How sharing research data can yield knowledge, jobs and growth

An RDA Europe Report | December 2014

Publié le 8 décembre 2014, par Thérèse Hameau

Executive summary

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The story is about sharing scientific data on a truly massive scale. The sheer volume of data spilling from telescopes, gene sequencers or environmental monitors is vast. So too is the torrent from such diverse disciplines as sociology, economics or linguistics. We often feel as if we are drowning in words, numbers, sounds and images – and we are. But when data volumes rise so high, something strange and marvellous happens : the nature of science changes. Problems that were previously not even recognised suddenly become tractable. Researchers who never met, at different institutions and in divergent fields, find themselves working on related topics. Work that previously plodded along from one experiment or hypothesis to another can accelerate. And what’s the vital catalyst for all this ? The ability to share the data – in huge volumes, over vast distances, across disciplines and institutions. And then to analyse, re-interpret, re-use and re-think it.
This is the future of science : a global data commons, a virtual science library spanning the globe.

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We, European members of the Research Data Alliance, an international effort to stimulate and coordinate work on data sharing, propose the following actions :

1. DO require a data plan, and show it is being implemented.
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2. DO promote data literacy across society,from researcher to citizen.
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3. DO develop incentives and grants for data sharing (and don’t forget Horizon 2020).
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4. DO develop tools and policies to build trust and data-sharing.
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5. DO support international collaboration.
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6. DON’T regulate what we don’t yet understand.
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7. DON’T stop what has begun well.
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Le rapport