Tips for long time archival of digital research data & FAQ
OpARA is an institutional repository for digital research data. If there is already a discipline-specific repository for your type of digital research data, it should be used. An overview of research data repositories is provided by the re3data Project (Registry of Research data Repositories) on its pages.
What are (digital) research data?
There are many definitions for research data. A short one is: "Research data are all data from research that are not publications". Research data can be:
the raw data coming directly from a device
Secondary data coming from the analysis of raw data or filtered data from a large data set
data derived or collected from other records
Examples are measurement series, images from a microscope, transcripts of an interview, or the answers to a questionnaire. Research data are the information necessary to gain or validate scientific knowledge.
Digital research data are all digital data generated in this context.
What data should I publish and at what level/degree of detail?
The decision is yours. You are the expert for your data. Only you know which data is necessary, e.g. to verify a finding or which data could be valuable for others. Also note the requirements of the funder whose money was used to collect the data. For example, the EU requires the publication of all research data from Horizon2020 projects since 2017.
Do I have to publish/share all my research data?
All relevant data should be published that
are necessary to verify a publication,
can be valuable for other researchers,
cannot be obtained in an easy way (e.g. too expensive) or are unique (e.g. environmental data of a location at a certain time).
Can I publish the research data I collected as a member of the university?
Many funding organisations require the publication as a prerequisite for project funding. On the other hand, data can also arise in projects with industrial partners that require non-disclosure. Data can also be based on personal information of test persons and thus are subject to data protection. If you are nevertheless planning a publication or if you have other questions regarding the legal situation, you are welcome to contact the Service Center Research Data at the TU Dresden. (eMail: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Which data should I archive/share?
Ask yourself: If I want to delete or not share my data and someone doubts my scientific findings - would I like to tell him/her "I have deleted the data or do not want to share them with you. But I give you my word they're right."
Probably this doesn't correspond to your scientific ethics and it's embarrassing too. By publishing the data you avoid such a situation. At a minimum, you should publish a description of the data and the way and conditions under which someone, who wants to understand your methods or findings, can access the data .
How comprehensible should I describe my data?
Without an comprehensible description, others cannot use your data or verify a finding. Therefore a sufficient description (with metadata - see next question) is essential.
What are metadata?
Metadata is data about data, i.e. the description of data.
For my paper, the editor requires that I also publish the data. How do I do that?
Research data are published and archived in a repository. There are two types of repositories - disciplinary and institutional repositories. The former only record data from one discipline. They should be used preferentially, as they are usually known in a discipline. Institutional repositories such as OpARA are open to everyone - especially to those disciplines for which there are no discipline-specific repositories.
How do I reference my published record?
In OpARA a data set gets a unique Digital Object Identifier (DOI). It's like a link on the Internet - when you enter it in your web browser, you will be directed to a web page where you can find the data and its description. The DOI can be used in a publication to reference research data.
Do I have to publish the data of conference publications?
You should always publish all data that belong to a publication of any kind.