Survey Results on Data Sharing

The following post is in reference to a survey given in May 2018. For more information on the survey, see previous posts on our Survey MethodologySurvey Demographics, and Survey Questions & Reflections (the full survey is available for download and reuse under a CC0 license). Posts on other survey themes: Survey Results ReportsSurvey Results on Open Access Themes, Survey Results on ScholarlyCommons Use.

In our survey, we asked a number of questions to get at how our community feels about sharing data. More information will accompany our final report in a companion report, EnterData. Here are some of our initial findings from our survey – note that the last two charts have caveats with the underlying data.

  • 74 survey respondents said data was an emerging form of scholarship.
  • 110 respondents said they would use a data repository if we had one.
  • 76 share their data.
  • 46 share their software/code.

Of those who share data:

  • 53 share upon request (70%)
  • 20 provide restricted access (26%)
  • 34 make data openly available online (45%)
Break down of how data and software/code is shared. This is in-line with what other surveys on how researchers “make their data publicly available.”

We did not design our survey to see where, exactly, people are sharing their data, but we can make some deductions.

Of those 34 who make their data openly available, five say they use some kind of data repository. Others report using Open Science Framework (3), FigShare (4), or Zenodo (1) as a “general purpose repository.” It’s unclear if they share their data or other works in those repositories based on the structure of the question. In the “other” category, one person each reported using Dataverse, the NIH, a society publisher, and a “previous employer’s repository.” Two participants indicated they have data in ScholarlyCommons*.

16 respondents who did not report using a data repository nor a commonly-used-for-data repository said they share information on a personal, lab/research group, and/or departmental/institutional website. Some of the respondents may only share other scholarly outputs on these sites, but it’s conceivable that some share their data this way.

Two participants indicated they make their data openly available online but did not make note of any method for doing so.

Chart of where respondents share data openly on the web.

We also looked at where those who indicated they share their data through restricted web access are doing that, but the data were much more muddy. Without going into the vast nuance of those responses, this chart hints at where these data might be. The commonly-used-for-data repositories were FigShare (2), Open Science Framework (1), Zenodo (1), Dataverse (1), and ICPSR (1). Respondents who said they share data through restricted web access also indicated they share data upon request and openly on the web so it’s not clear what exactly is going on. Other methods for sharing any scholarly work listed by respondents in this group include audio, code, image, and/or video hosting sites, social media, and/or our learning management system (Canvas, in our case).

Chart of where respondents might be sharing data with restricted access.




*Four respondents said they currently have data in ScholarlyCommons. It’s unclear why the other two respondents did not list “data” as a scholarly output they make available.


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