Mari Kleemola

European Commission Recommends Disseminating Research Data

The role of education, research and innovation as key to growth is emphasized in the European growth strategy, also known as Europe 2020 strategy. Research results, among others, should be as quickly and widely available to society as possible. In June 2012, the Commission published a Communication called Towards better access to scientific information: Boosting the benefits of public investments in research. Together with the Communication, the Commission published a Recommendation that encourages Member States to develop their policies regarding the access to and preservation of research data.

The Recommendation emphasizes the principles of open access, which should be applied to all research receiving public funds. The goal is to enable the use and reuse of research results, including both publications and research data, free of charge. Reaching this goal requires national policies and solid e-infrastructures.

The Commission recommends that Member States define clear policies for the dissemination of and open access to research data and scientific publications resulting from publicly funded research. Scientific research data should be accessible through digital e-infrastructures. Moreover, datasets should be easily identifiable and linkable. The academic career system should support and reward researchers who share their results and provide open access to their research data.

Member States are also recommended to define policies for the preservation and reuse of scientific information. The Commission encourages the reinforcement of infrastructures needed to access and preserve scientific information at national level. In the development of these infrastructures, attention should be paid to interoperability and synergies among e-infrastructures at European and global level.

FSD practices in line with recommendations

As a national resource centre for research and teaching, The Finnish Social Science Data Archive (FSD) already implements and supports many of the recommendations. Through the FSD, research data for human sciences are preserved long-term and are available for reuse. Metadata included in the archived data contains information on the publications related to the data and enables the identification and linking of datasets. The data are processed according to the standards and the established practices of the field. The FSD is also active in international cooperation in its field and is involved, among others, in the future European research infrastructure CESSDA-ERIC.

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